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19 Venice Costa Magica Cruise Reviews

I enjoyed this cruise and the ship a lot! First things first, you have to remember that it is an Italian Cruise line so everything is general chaos. Boarding, not having your prepaid beverage and excursion packages set right is to be ... Read More
I enjoyed this cruise and the ship a lot! First things first, you have to remember that it is an Italian Cruise line so everything is general chaos. Boarding, not having your prepaid beverage and excursion packages set right is to be expected (especially if you booked in the US). I arrived in the Venice train station, Expedia never forwarded the luggage tags so it was a chore getting my luggage to the ship (and I mean a chore). If you have the tags you can give them to the Costa people at the train station. Must remember to get luggage tags. Boarding was chaos and you never knew which group number they were on, just get in line and if they say no, get back in line and so on until they finally say yes. Expect rudeness at the front desk when you walk on the ship as most of them are Italian as well as from the Eastern Europeans that work on this ship have a bit of an attitude. Those from Asia and India are the best! They shut the coffee service off after a certain time from breakfast and the buffets have certain times they are open or closed, so be prepared! Unlike NCL where you can get something to drink at any time, it is not the case on Costa. I had the beverage package which also included the espresso's so that was an added bonus as other ships charge for that. I showered in the spa where there were large private showers with soap and it was so much better than the small shower in my room. I pre-booked the excursions through Costa's website. The site is kind of a nightmare. Have receipts for everything. I was told that I didn't have the beverage package, so I had to show the receipt which was in my room and was paid for 6 weeks in advance. I then was charged again for my excursion. So I had to show those receipts. Then I was told I didn't book the English tour so they had to recharge me and credit the other. The only tour you can book on the US Costa website is English. Either way, if you can get through that little bit of chaos, then you will have a great time on Costa. Oh, on rainy days, they don't put up larger canopy's like Norwegian when you are waiting to get on the ship from an excursion and security does not move fast. So be prepared as we were soaked trying to get on the ship in Malta. Leaving the ship in Genoa was very fast and the bus was quick to the train station. The weather was cooler as it was November and the ship moved fast (4 hours in a port as it was moving quickly to Barcelona to head to the Caribbean) which made me a little sea sick. The shows are done so that all languages can understand them and they are not bad. The night where they have amateur crew members showing their talents is rather intriguing. The ship does a good job in having workshops explaining in specific languages what to expect when leaving the ship, etc. and they do a good job in making sure that you are on the right excursion bus. The food was okay, nothing much to write home about. I was by myself for dinner, so my first night I was sat at a small table by myself surrounded by large tables of 8 or 10, so it was a little uncomfortable. The waiter kept forgetting I was there, so service was not so good nor was getting my water refilled, so I skipped it other nights until the last night which was Thanksgiving. I decided to show up for the early dining to throw them for a loop to see if I could get a better table which was the case. They served Turkey for Thanksgiving, so that made my night. Also, people tend to dress up a lot more than the casual NCL cruises at all times of the day and especially at dinner. Overall, I enjoyed Costa a lot and kept busy the entire time on the ship and I would most certainly travel with Costa and on the Costa Magica again. Just remember as an American and English speaker, you are the minority and providing the best service is not their expertise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We had cruised in the past with another cruise line and were not impressed. However Costa Magica was incredible. Service was great. The food was outstanding and the ship itself was wonderful. All excursions were top rate. We enjoyed the ... Read More
We had cruised in the past with another cruise line and were not impressed. However Costa Magica was incredible. Service was great. The food was outstanding and the ship itself was wonderful. All excursions were top rate. We enjoyed the activities and our room with a balcony was so relaxing and comfortable. Back to the food, every time we had pasta it was cooked to perfection...andante!!! The dinners in the evening had a varied menu of great entrees. We have traveled the world and have stayed at many high end hotels and have had fine dinners at many notable restaurants. Our experience here with Costa did not disappoint us. We were very happy with everything. In Venice, it can be a bit crazy at the Port but they had everything laid out so easy to get luggage taken care of and get right on board and the same ease for disembarking. Overall...a truly great experience!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Having read some negative reviews I wondered what the experience would be. Check in was efficient and we checked in earlier than the stated time. The ship was nicely decorated. We had the inclusive drinks package. This gave good value ... Read More
Having read some negative reviews I wondered what the experience would be. Check in was efficient and we checked in earlier than the stated time. The ship was nicely decorated. We had the inclusive drinks package. This gave good value for money and included practically all drinks with no limit. The restaurant served excellent food and was well presented and served, sometimes service was a bit slow but nothing to complain about. The entertainment was to a high standard and staged very well. The time ashore was always quite limited but enough to get a quick view of the destination. The passengers were mainly Italian with maybe 30% UK and other nationalities. The Italians are not good at queuing and the buffet lunch was a bit of a bun fight. The buffet food was not as varied as Holland America line. The cabin we had was inside, had plenty of room and was well equipped. I would recommend the cruise if you are prepared to accept that it is not top notch but very good value. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
I have only been on many Celebrity Cruises before and one P&O therefore I was geared up to expect a lower standard of cruise based on reviews I had read. This Costa cruise represents excellent value for money. The ship is clean and ... Read More
I have only been on many Celebrity Cruises before and one P&O therefore I was geared up to expect a lower standard of cruise based on reviews I had read. This Costa cruise represents excellent value for money. The ship is clean and well maintained. (When on Celebrity there was an outbreak of e-coli which was a pain and I felt Celebrity were thereafter over the top - couldn't even borrow library books!). The staff without exception were friendly and fun not like the obsequious staff on American ships! Nothing was too much trouble and always a smile. It was nice to spend the cruise with a mixture of nationalities, not a loud American in sight! ( I do however love Americans!) The food was not good. Occasional fish dish was ok. Buffet for breakfast and lunch was like a cattle market and very noisy. Entertainment was extremely average. Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth and not at all chaotic as Celebrity had been. The off boat trips were very good particularly the trip to The Acropolis, top notch guide. Too short a time in each port. On the whole good value for money but will not go with Costa again as like to relax and have some luxuries. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We sailed from Venice down the Adriatic from Venice and had a two night stay in Venice. We had read very bad reviews about the Costa Magica and as this was our first cruise we were quite nervous. Although we can make some suggestions as we ... Read More
We sailed from Venice down the Adriatic from Venice and had a two night stay in Venice. We had read very bad reviews about the Costa Magica and as this was our first cruise we were quite nervous. Although we can make some suggestions as we did find some faults ,we did have a lovely cruise with a very happy staff and an international mixed group of fellow passengers. Our first surprise was how many of the passengers were in there thirties upwards and the Italians particularly had children with them who all seemed well behaved. We are in our seventies and had expected to be with people of that age- group and older. We enjoyed the lively atmosphere and seeing the young ones enjoying themselves Our cabin with balcony was very nice and kept well by our steward Eduardo who worked from morning till night. We also had a sofa as well as double bed which was appreciated. We were seated in the Esmeralda Restaurant which was difficult to find but was really beautiful with excellent waiter service. Our two Indian waiters were exceptional and one A. Shetty in particular had the most genuine happy smile. If someone ordered a meal and then changed their mind no questions were asked and the meals were hot in spite of the large number of diners. The menu did rather favour Italian dishes, but then it is an Italian ship, but the food was varied -portions only small, but then you could order as many courses as you wanted so would never go hungry. The Italian night was wonderful and we danced with the waiters and nearly every night some music or something else would happen in the dining room. (One night all the lights went out and the waiters had some sort of flares in their hands and then they appeared with large cakes at our tables.) We were also delighted at the speed and efficiency of the lifts and the decor of the ship is lovely with the Italian theme throughout -even the decks are the names of the Italian masters. Our main criticisms would be. a) the self-service restaurant closed very early so anyone who wanted to opt out of formal dining would have to eat very early. I felt there should be always something open for eating as this gives the passenger freedom of movement, particularly on days off the ship (which in our case was everyday except one) The length of time off ship is also only a few hours and therefore this usually means everyone scrambling for meals at the same time.(ie. before they leave the ship) There is an option however to get your meal inc. breakfast served to you in a dining room. We also did not like people smoking with their meals in the outside area near the pool on deck 9 as often the dining rooms were full and we had no choice but to eat there with people smoking -not nice at all. The entertainment in the theatre was good and there are ample bars with all kinds of different entertainment. There is something to do each hour of the day on the ship (quizzes etc) but we personally were quite happy to watch the waves and read from our balcony as it is quite hard to find a quiet corner. We did not get a drinks package as I do not drink alcohol and they would not allow us only one as we were a couple. However we did not find our drinks bill excessive, but do remember you have 8 euros per day service charge per person. All in all we found our first cruise with Costa -fun- not at all 'stuffy' -it is for the people who are prepared to mix and observe other nationalities . We thought it was value for money and we were very happy with the itinary which took us from glorious Venice, to Bari then Greece, Turkey and Dubrovnik. Happy ship! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Costa is a good cruise line if you want to spend a lot for very little. I had cruised on Carnival in the Caribbean and had expected a comparable level of quality. I was totally wrong. The food is akin to a high school cafeteria. It is also ... Read More
Costa is a good cruise line if you want to spend a lot for very little. I had cruised on Carnival in the Caribbean and had expected a comparable level of quality. I was totally wrong. The food is akin to a high school cafeteria. It is also available only at select times (unlike Carnival, when there is ample food available around the clock). The ship employees are barely friendly, and often not. The excursions were inferior and sometimes unavailable to English speakers. The English-speaking guides speak broken English which is hard to understand, and many did not have a command of their topics (or felt limited by their barely proficient English). Unlike Carnival, the ship employees are not eager to please. When I repeatedly requested a change in table, I was told it was impossible. That may have been the case, but their attitude was that I was asking for something unreasonable -- again, quite in contrast to my experience on Carnival. The food was not good and rarely varied from day-to-day. The meat was dry or tough. There were no "special foods" like shrimp or lobster. The desserts were plain and uninteresting. There were many other non-friendly customer elements: the slide is open only four hours per day. The pools close at 10 pm. There is one choice for dinner (no optional buffets as is the case on Carnival), unless you want to pay extra to eat at the pizza bar. The only bright spot was the rooms and overall condition of the ship, which was well-maintianed and attractive (though I could do without the nudity all over the walls, especially with kids along). I know that Carnival owns Costa, but this was not in evidence. I would discourage English-speakers from taking a Costa Cruise. And I can't imagine that the food quality could be pleasing even to Europeans. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
we went on this cruise for our sons 21st birthday it was booked back in january 2014.i read quite a few of the reviews regarding the ship and type of holiday and although people are entitled to their opinion i thought some of the bad ... Read More
we went on this cruise for our sons 21st birthday it was booked back in january 2014.i read quite a few of the reviews regarding the ship and type of holiday and although people are entitled to their opinion i thought some of the bad reviews were a bit harsh, i was wrong the reviews were right, i know the ship is run by a italian company but did not realise so many foriegn people would be on it our group of 5 people were the the only english people.Apart from the theatre in the evening time any announcements were all done in foreign languages apart from maybe about 2 times,i can not fault the staff or the cabin room, we have been on other cruises and the cabin room was loads bigger (inside cabin aswell) the food was ok mainly italian catered for and i agree with one of the reviews the italians were the most ignorant people we have met and did not like queueing for food even when they could see the queue but were pushing in all the time at which point after about 2 days of putting up with this me and my husband no longer did and had quite a few arguments with said people and told them to get to the back of the queue and queue like the rest of us had to and they do understand english?????also on costa cruises you only get free water throughout the day and fresh orange juice in the morning(unless you purchase there drinks packages the cheapest being about £25.00 each per person per day hence we did not have this) of which your not suppose to but most of these people were filling up bottles hence holding up the people queueing for drinks,if they got seen they were told off but did this very crafitly ,the italians also gorged themselves on the food piling there plates with huge masses of food but then did not eat it all which was a great waste and taking this amount of food in the first place meant less for everyone else but they were not bothered about this.and as usual the old sunloungers debate people putting towels on sunbeds but not actually being any where near there sunbed and also people taking your stuff off your sunbed (we had only gone to the toilet) and came back to other people on our sunbeds tannoy annoucements were made but still not adhered to and other charges that you need to be warned about. everytime you order a drink there is a service charge on it and as well as this you are charged everyday another service charge which is payable every day for each person and was 8 euros each per day per person which in the exchange rate worked out bout £9.60 so for 10 day for us 5 which equates to about £480.00 and although the travel agent told us about the service charge she didnt know if this was optional and she did not know how much it would be rubbish travel agent???? so my advise is to anyone thinking of going on a cruise dont go on any costa cruises as we felt we were being ripped off all the time and the word cattle market came to mind as you just felt like you were being herded round all the time especailly at meal times so avoid avoid theres plenty of other cruise liners out there. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Having booked our tour and cruise last year on the spur of the moment and only reading the reviews on this site a month or so before departing, I was not really looking forward to it. The complaints made by some people regards the food, ... Read More
Having booked our tour and cruise last year on the spur of the moment and only reading the reviews on this site a month or so before departing, I was not really looking forward to it. The complaints made by some people regards the food, the Italians, the staff. the ship. the disorganisation at embarkation etc. etc. had me dreading the whole thing! Well, my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed our weeks cruise and I realise a holiday is what you make it and of course it always helps when you meet like minded people and enjoy your fellow travellers company, which we did. Starting with the embarkation, it took us just over an hour from start to finish and our suitcases arrived at our cabin a couple of hours later just in time to dress for dinner. We were on a table of 10, with 4 other couples from our coach tour and it made dinner very pleasant, we all had tales to tell and it was lovely sharing our days experience. The dinner menu was so varied, you would have to be a very fussy eater indeed not to find something you liked from at least 4 courses! My husband is a bit of a traditionalist with food and he managed to put quite a bit away! The Italians at other meals, well yes they are very loud, grab everything, push in and waste a lot of food but we found we breakfasted early, had lunch late (after they had gorged themselves) and we avoided all the mayhem, so there are ways. Other reviews have stated that salad, pizza and burgers were the only thing on offer for lunch and tea but we had some lovely lunch meals, risotto, calzone, chicken, pork to name just a few and there were always rolls, bread and plenty of fillings if that is your preference. We paid for the drinks package and were very glad we did, it means you don't have to think about your bill at the end and although we are not big drinkers, I had my fill of all the cocktails on offer and enjoyed a latte instead of the coffee on tap, much nicer. Our cabin was just standard, adequate for us and Robin our steward was exceptional, each time we left he came in and tidied up (I could have brought him home with me!!) We always found a lounger on deck (even on the day at sea) and if you avoid the pool area you can find a relatively quiet spot. We found all the staff extremely friendly and helpful, plan to keep in touch with Mery from Peru the best drinks waiter on board! The shows were quite good, costumes and sets very professional, they last about 45 mins so ideal to fit into the evening. I wanted to post this and cover as many points as I could, just to reassure other people who may be about to cruise on Magica and perhaps be put off by other reviews. If you enjoy it half as much as us then you will have a good time. I wouldn't hesitate to go on another Costa cruise if the itinerary suited. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Our holiday was arranged as a rest bite holiday for my mother who is a carer and included my partner and I. The whole holiday was a disappointment from start to finish and it was not only our party that were unhappy about the cruise but ... Read More
Our holiday was arranged as a rest bite holiday for my mother who is a carer and included my partner and I. The whole holiday was a disappointment from start to finish and it was not only our party that were unhappy about the cruise but many others we spoke to experienced similar problems.My mother, my partner and I have been on numerous cruises. My mother over 37 in total and we have always been pleased with our holidays. My last cruise was on Island Escape and although the ship was old and tired and is not even listed as a proper cruise ship on many websites, the cruise was 100% better than this cruise! The poor experience began when we arrived at the port terminal in Venice to go aboard the ship. We were given a card number 15 and told to sit and wait for our number to be called. At no point did anyone tell us we could leave the terminal and return later so that we could visit Venice before disembarkation. 3 hours later with no refreshments that are normally offered, we were finally called to check in and I expressed my disappointment that we had had to sit and wait so long and had missed the opportunity to see Venice, one of the main reasons we chose this particular cruise. We were abruptly told that we should have gone to Venice and came back later and that if there was a problem we should have spoken to customer services in the terminal. We pointed out that we had no idea there was even such a complaints desk. I was deeply upset. We were sent on our way to embarkation but we avoided the tacky welcome on board photograph that was due next (and was holding up the queue) as we were fed up and grumpy at this point. We entered the ship and were not greeted or helped by any member of staff. We stood waiting until finally we stopped a crew member and asked how we get to our cabin. This was a new experience as normally crew members meet the passengers upon arrival and help them find their way along even offering them a soft drink somewhere along the way. We settled into our cabin. The cabin was clean and plenty big enough for 3 of us. Unfortunately, during our stay we noticed that the hairdryer had exposed wires on it that looked dangerous and there were light bulbs not working in the room. There was no hand soap in the bathroom and we had to ask for it as an extra. Shower gel was minimal and kept running out. We were often given 2 towels instead of 3. Often the cabin boy made lovely shapes and animals from the towels and placed them on the bed- unfortunately however, the towels used were dirty, wet towels and made the bedding damp. We could rarely get BBC news on our cabin TV which is usually available on other ships. I do not blame the cabin boy, I blame Costa as their staff seem to be overworked do not seem to be adequately trained. The cabin boy was always polite and helpful. We then made our way to the bar as we were very thirsty and needed a drink. The bar was very busy and did not have enough staff serving. Instantly, we noticed how unhappy and overworked the bar staff were. There were no smiles and we waited ages to be served. No please or thank you from the staff. We instantly felt unwelcome. The drinks were very expensive and had tax added on so we decided to buy an all inclusive package. From this point onwards, things got worse and worse. The queues at bars and in the buffet restaurant were always huge. There was not enough staff at the bars and not enough bar waiters. We could rarely get waiter service unless you wanted to buy Sangria or drinks that were at an additional cost, either in the bar areas or in the restaurants. Most of the staff were miserable and snappy, often rude! Hardly any of the staff smiled. We would repeatedly request coffee and juice at breakfast and never get served. Some staff would just tell us that they were working for other tables and walk off, others just slam their eyes at us. There was a complete lack of job satisfaction anywhere on the ship. The seating in the buffet restaurant was terrible, with no-where to sit. The buffet restaurant food was poor. We had to clear used plates and cutlery ourselves from dirty tables as there was not enough staff to cope. Food was cold and tasteless. We pointed out to the Maitre D at the buffet that the panacotta was like rubber and inedible- a speciality of Italy that I can personally make a better job of creating. The sausages, bacon and potatoes were cold and awash with oil. One day we chose hamburgers and we were astonished that the meat was raw and red in the middle! Only 2 choices of pizza at the buffet, on an Italian ship this is shocking! Food was always running out so there was limited choice. The buffet restaurant closing before 5pm each day until 7pm was outrageous as passengers who were returning from Costa excursions hungry and thirsty could not get food from anywhere. We were on the late dinner sitting at 9.15pm and to go from lunch until 7pm to get any food on a cruise is disgraceful! We could not even help ourselves to a cup of tea or coffee during the day as the dispensers were always closed up. In the waiter service restaurant, the food was equally awful. Salty, tasteless and over cooked or under cooked. The fish and meat was dry and chewy. The soup was like stew. Vegetables that were diced to an inch of their lives were cold and undercooked. Cheeses looked stale and the biscuits were non descript. The vegetarian lady on our table nearly cried with the lack of thought for her food and was horrified to taste her food had been cooked in fish tainted fat. We found it very, very difficult to get wine refills in this restaurant and I cannot believe that there was no coffee or tea offered at the end of the meal. This just would not happen on another cruise. Every night, all the guests on our table left nearly all the food from every course as it tasted so bad! The waiters looked embarrassed. Over the week it got worse and worse. We came back less heavy than before we left....a rare event on a cruise holiday unless you have had illness. During the week, I approached the Maitre D after a breakfast in the Smerelda restaurant. I politely explained that I would like to point out the problems we were experiencing in order that he can try and repair them. Instantly, he abruptly told me to see customer services if I had a problem. It felt like he was not interested. I reminded him that he was the Maitre D and that he was the person in charge of the restaurant to which he rolled his eyes, folded his arms and looked the other way. I told him he did not seem to be interested and at that point somebody must have dropped something as there was a crash in the kitchen. At the sound of the crash, he abruptly walked off without word or warning. I was amazed and shocked as there was plenty of other staff standing nearby who could have attended to the kitchen incident. It was obvious to me that he used the crash scenario to take himself away from our conversation. I immediately went to customer service and reported the Maitre D to them. I also said that we were not happy about paying the compulsory Hotel Service Charge at the end of the cruise as the service had been so poor. They sent the English representative to our table that evening to find out what had happened and to listen to our issues. I told her about the Maitre D incident and the problems we were experiencing and she said that Costa had reduced the staff to cut costs on the ship. She said that she was overwhelmed with other complaints from English speaking guests about similar issues. I told her we did not want to pay the service charge as the service was terrible. She agreed it was poor. The rep visited us a couple of times over the week and the Maitre D did give us a half hearted excuse with an apology about the kitchen incident. We continued to tell Louise how bad the service and food was. She listened to us but offered nothing. We complained to customer services at least twice but they seemed disinterested in the whole thing. On a more positive note, I would like to point out that that the show dancers and singers were excellent. They worked very hard and produced fantastic shows each time. Also, the excursions and were excellent and well organised. To add insult to injury, at the end of the holiday we were summoned to the theatre to sit through a disembarkation talk from the rep. There, she gave us information about luggage etc. During her speech, she told passengers that there was only one box to tick on the satisfaction questionnaire, namely ‘excellent’! She reinforced this many, many times suggesting there was no other choice. This was to the obvious disgust of the passengers seated in the theatre. We were now being told what to write on our comments form........priceless!!!! If you decide to go on this cruise ship do so at your own peril!!! I warn you it is absolutely terrible!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
FAMILY BAKGROUND This was a very special cruise for us. We went with our disabled daughter and her disabled husband and two grandchildren as a special treat for the whole family. We chose a cruise as we had three members of the party with ... Read More
FAMILY BAKGROUND This was a very special cruise for us. We went with our disabled daughter and her disabled husband and two grandchildren as a special treat for the whole family. We chose a cruise as we had three members of the party with dietary intolerances and with the limited mobility of two members it was an opportunity to see several interesting cities and countries in a short time and give our grandsons aged nine and thirteen a chance to sample other cultures. CHOICE OF CRUISE We chose Costa mainly on the ports of call and the low cost and the fact the cruise covered the spring bank holiday week. We read all the criticisms but were happy to be on a more relaxed ship with many different nationalities TRAVEL TO VENICE Organising the travelling ourselves was important to cater for the limited energy levels of our disabled passengers. We travelled to Gatwick airport on the first day from Dorset taking five hours and several stops to arrive. We then flew on a BA flight to Venice. Travelling with 2 disabled mobility scooters was fine and we got priority on boarding. The only down side was there was no gluten free food on short flight but we had bought our own snacks with us. We had a free shuttle transfer to the Best Western 'AirVenice' hotel (near Venice) and spent a restful night there with a great breakfast which had gluten free options. We can highly recommend this hotel for cruise stop-over. EMBARKATION The day of the cruise we took a taxi to Venice cruise terminal and had a very smooth embarkation, given priority because of our disabled passengers. The taxi was arranged by the hotel at a much lower rate than had been offered by other taxi companies we tried to book on-line from the UK.. CABINS We were on the 10th deck in two disabled and one inside cabin.There was a welcome pack for our gluten free passenger. All were spacious and well appointed. . The disabled cabins had special status so you could have breakfast or room service without extra charge. The only slight criticism was that the wardrobe space was quite small in the disabled cabins DINING Many aspects of the cruise very really good. The ships staff were friendly and helpful and catered for food intolerances very well. The food was fine. There was some repetition of spaghetti Bolognese and fried chicken fillets but that suited our lactose intolerant nine year old. The octopus stew was divine and all though we ate several courses the portions were small so we did not put on loads of weight. WATER INTO GOLD The one problem we found which we had not anticipated was the policy on non alcoholic drinks. I had read on various blogs that food and water were not allowed to brought onto the ship and that bottle water was costly. But reviewers had written that water coffee and tea were always available at the self service restaurant on deck nine and that tap water could be asked for in the restaurants. In fact there is a new policy this season and tap water is no longer offered in the restaurants so you are forced to purchase bottled water or go without a drink with meals. We sent £100 on bottled water on our 7 day cruise, a cost we had not budgeted for. Unlike other cruise lines there was no free coffee or tea at the end of the meal in the restaurant either. We were not able to eat in the self service buffet because of our food intolerances, so this policy discriminated against people with food allergy. When we complained to the English speaking Costa rep (despite her sympathetic response) she was unable to get this policy eased with the Hotel Manager and Catering Manager on the ship. The self service restaurant also closed the drinks stations down at various times so you had to hunt around to find one open. This is a very strange policy as we had free wine on Gala night and Italian night ( 5 out of 6 on our party were non drinkers) but were denied a glass of free water. We were on a limited budget so the cost of water meant we were not able to buy other soft drinks so the cruise company did not gain any extra income from us. This policy means we are unlikely to travel with Costa cruise line again. The difference in policy for the sit down restaurants and the self service restaurant appears difficult to justify and discriminates against people with serious dietary needs. Due to the medications taken by the disabled members of our party, their drinking water needs were higher than normal with one person needing two large bottles just during the night. We did not feel that Costa Cruises management were in any way empathetic to the problems faced by some disabled passengers in this regard. ACTIVITES There was less activities than other cruise lines. We did take part in a few quizzes but there were no lectures or film shows- I guess catering for so many languages on board made this difficult. However the ports of call took up most of the day and we were always busy. We particularly likes the free sauna and steam room on deck 11. They both had huge picture windows so you could watch the islands passing by as you had a good soak. The pools were very good and the children in particular enjoyed them and the giant slide. CHILDRENS CLUB Our 9 year old enjoyed the children's club and coped with the mixture of different nationalities taking part. They put a blue streak of face paint on his cheek to show he was an English speaker. The activities were varied and interesting for a 9 year old and he soon made friends with other children. ENTERTAINMENT Most of us were too tired to go to the shows but the children enjoyed the Shanghai acrobats and my husband and I saw a couple of the shows which were a very high standard. There was music in several of the bars but most of us were tucked up in bed by 10.30. We loved the Italian night when the waiters sang and danced and waltzed with the passengers. PORTSOF CALL/EXCURSIONS We chose this cruise because of the ports of call and we were not disappointed. With our special needs we did not use the costa excursions. In Athens we hired a stretch limo for 4 hours who took us right up to the entrance of the acropolis and was one third cheaper than the ship's tour. We got in the site for free and used the scary disabled lift up to the top of the acropolis. In Bari we used the ships shuttle nearly 9 euros each to go less than a kilometre, nearly £50 for six passengers!. We took the mini train tour around Bari for ten euros (Children 5 Euros), a big contrast to the Costa shuttle cost for just a few minutes ride. The mini-train tour lasted about 2 hours with an excellent guide. You do not stay on the train but get off at various locations to visit the individual sites like St Nicholas church, cathedral and Castle. In Katakolon we did not go to Olympia but spend a pleasant couple of hours in the local fishing village. Athens was one of the highlights followed by Izmir where we again took a taxi and visited the bazaar. The taxi driver acted as tour guide for no extra fee. It is quite different to have people with varied interests in the party and try to cater for everyone, but we all had a good time. In Dubrovnik there was another expensive Costa shuttle bus - no reduction for children. We loved walking round the town and saw some ladies and men in ethnic costumes singing and dancing in the main square. Our plane home was not until 11 pm so we had all day in Venice which was wonderful and exhausting, but far from easy with two disabled adults in wheelchairs. Public toilets were very difficult to find and not disabled friendly, not to mention the 1.5 Euro cost of a pee!. On holiday on our own, my husband and I usually rush round all the museums archaeological sites and palaces so it was quite refreshing to take things a bit slower and concentrate on one activity in each port. We learnt that everything takes a lot longer with disabled mobility scooters! STAFF AND SERVICE All the staff were very friendly and helpful and the service in the restaurant and elsewhere was very good. INFORMATION On the whole the information on the boat was less clear than on other cruise lines. The public toilets were not marked on the boat plan we received. We were not always sure what dress code we needed for any particular night. DISEMBARKATION This was very smooth. We got off the boat before the appointed time and found our cases easily. We had booked a large taxi to take us to the airport (the same company that the Best Western AirVenice hotel had arranged, and at the same lower cost) where we left our cases and then came back into Venice for the day. Taxis in general on the day were much cheaper than booking on line in advance from the UK and large taxis were available in most towns which could take our group and the mobility scooters. We had a Luggie scooter and a Mobie - both fold down quite small but were very useful on the holiday. HIDDEN COSTS Often the information on the cruise web sites is limited. When comparing companies the hidden costs need to be known and made clear. Costs like non alcoholic drinks, shuttle buses need to be known in advance. Our view is that the hidden costs on Costa Cruises are greater than we have experienced on other cruise lines we have used, including Cunard, P&O and Thompson. This especially applied when paying for six people on short Costa shuttle bus services (no children's discounts) and obtaining on-board drinking water. All in all a good holiday experience only marred by the higher than expected hidden costs and intractable on-board senior management that would not accommodate special needs. 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Sail Date May 2014
We were very disappointed in our cruise, the food was poor with no buffet option in the evening (closed at 3 or 4 pm daily only a salad bar and pizza in the evening). Food in the restaurant was bland, service slow, but no choice if you ... Read More
We were very disappointed in our cruise, the food was poor with no buffet option in the evening (closed at 3 or 4 pm daily only a salad bar and pizza in the evening). Food in the restaurant was bland, service slow, but no choice if you wanted more than a salad! Costa's strange and inconsiderate no smoking/smoking policy allowed people to smoke INSIDE the ship - in all the main bars and lounges - saying that there were no-smoking tables was ridiculous as people smoking in an enclosed area pollutes the entire room. On top of this the genuien (small) no smoking lounge and bar were out of bounds, taken over for Costa (to see future cruises, i.e. The Isolobella lounge) - or only sometimes available - the very small Isolobella bar. All the rest were open and adjoining smoking areas (the Cigar bar open to the non smoking Piano bar!) Even the card room, which we enjoyed during the day, was closed at night and turned into a photo studio. On deck, smokers could smoke anywhere on the left/port side of the ship - that was fine, but many 'strayed' so that sometimes (as the ship was fulll) it took a while to find a smoke free place. Staff on deck hard to find, no one bothering to remind people who were smoking in non smoking areas that it was 'not allowed'. Staff were generally quite apathetic, I made several complaints and suggestions (about noise in the corridors outside cabins in the early hours of the morning - no response). Earplugs helped. On the plus side the gym was good, the cabins were clean, the cabin staff excellent. We were lucky to have good weather so that we could sit outside and not be breathing in smoke. If you're a smoker, this is the cruise for you - all those years of having to sit outside to have a cigarette you can now enjoy one in almost any bar or lounge in the ship - if you're a non-smoker think twice! I only wish someone had told me about this policy before I booked! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We have sailed many times but not from Europe. First, I must agree with one review that said the cruise was what you made it. True, true, true. We were concerned about the many negative comments. This was our take: there was very little, ... Read More
We have sailed many times but not from Europe. First, I must agree with one review that said the cruise was what you made it. True, true, true. We were concerned about the many negative comments. This was our take: there was very little, if any annoying smoke. The food was quite good with more than ample choice. The portions were appropriate unless you are a glutton. As non drinkers, there was always water and coffee available at no charge. Bottled water at dinner was very reasonably priced.The rooms were larger than most and the balcony was a delight and cleaned. The ship itself was quite pretty. The complaint about fresh fruit was ludicrous , I had apples, plums, pears, pineapple, melons as well as dried fruit with breakfast. The entertainment was excellent. There was much talent in every show. Hopefully, this dispels some of the hard to please. The not the best comments were the expensive and less than great excursions. Each port could be done on your own much less expense. More time would also have been nice. The staff was always there to help. We would definitely go on the Magica again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
I have previously cruised with princess and royal caribbean but that was alongside my family. So this was my first booking of a cruise without parental help! We looked for a bargain and came across Costa. After cruising with the other two ... Read More
I have previously cruised with princess and royal caribbean but that was alongside my family. So this was my first booking of a cruise without parental help! We looked for a bargain and came across Costa. After cruising with the other two companies I was sceptacle about the quality of the cruise, the interior, food, etc but my fears did not materialise. THE ROOM We got an offer to upgrade to a mini suite from an Ocean balcony and took full advantage of this. So were treated to a butler on call alongside our cabin steward, a pillow menu, breakfast served to our cabin every morning (no charges applied), a meal in the exclusive restaurant included, proceseco, canapes and fresh fruit delivered to our cabin every morning. The room was lovely, a small dressing room, bathroom with whirlpool bath, large balcony and importantly a very comfortable bed. ENTERTAINMENT Every day we got a newsletter in English informing us of the activities and there were so many that we always had difficulty selecting something to do. The evening entertainment was good lots of international singers and performers in the many bars, the shows in the theatre lasted around 45 minutes and were good. If you are travelling with young children it is very much a family orientated ship. The excursion options were extensive. We opted to do our own thing in Corfu - walking distance to the town from the ship, we got a map from our English host Holly who was lovely. In Bari, Venice and Dubrovnick we were able to do our own thing. We went on three excursions Kataklon to a beach (not the nicest beach in the world, very busy and chaotic - would recommend the trip to Olympius instead) Athens we did the Acropolis and Palaka and would highly recommend this, very informative guide, saw all the highlights and had some free time which was nice and finally Santorini where we went to Perissa beach and Thira - stunning black beach, lovely quiet area, nice boat transfer, coach ride and time in the capital before getting the cable car back down. Highly recommend Perissa beach. THE FOOD Some reviews might complain about the food and yes the buffett area at night was not brilliant but if you eat in the main restaurants the food is served at an exceptionally high standard, waiter serve very attentive - similar to some michillan star restaurants I've eaten at. But yes the buffett is not 24 hrs and only runs to midnight and serves pizza and salad in the evening. However if you eat in the restaurant this really shouldn't be a problem! The buffett at lunch and breakfast is pretty good. As many mention the drinks package is worth getting as you will easily consume more than the daily price, easy to use once you have paid. Would consider crusing with costa again after our recent experience. Despite being warned to use my elbows and knees because Italians don't queue this really wasn't the case and had no problems. You might not have lots of other English speaking guests to talk to but the crew are pretty much all fluent in English. If you do go with Costa and are on Costa Magica have a lovely time! Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
As we got a good deal we decided to try Costa cruises. We have previously done NCL, RCCL, HAL, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC and after MSC we actually decided not to go fo a Italian cruise again. The MSC wold charge you for anytthing and not ... Read More
As we got a good deal we decided to try Costa cruises. We have previously done NCL, RCCL, HAL, Celebrity, Carnival and MSC and after MSC we actually decided not to go fo a Italian cruise again. The MSC wold charge you for anytthing and not much was included compared to the american ships - but money talks and we had the AI drink package included in our offer, which turned out to be excellent value. In order to help to understand the difference between the American shps and Costa I will try to make comparisons during the review. Enbarkation: Arriving at the port we delivered our luggage after having been in a line. At this point you get a boarding number, that should be used n the terminal later. The luggage delivery station was approximately 400 meters from the terminal, so you had to walk from the luggage delivery station to the terminal. At US ships you arrive at the ship and stewards are ready to take your luggage immediately at arrival - no line and not necessary to walk to the terminal. Arriving at the terminal you will wait until your assigned boarding number is called. Then you are put in a new line to wait for document checking. You don't deliver your credit card details here nor is your photo taken for your key card at this point (New lines for you is coming up). After the document checking a new long line is waiting for you for security check. Then you are on your way to board the shp, but has to pass to other lines: 1 for another document check and another line to get your photo taken. Finally on board you have 48 hours to provide your credita card details on the machines onboard. On US ships all of the previous is done at check-in and decrease the embarkation time significant. IT took us 2-3 hours from delivering the luggae to board the ship - area for improvement. The ship: The ship itself is beatiful and very well maintained. The decor is quite nice and italian which we did like, though it was difficult to navigate between the parts of the ships, as you could only pass from one end to the other on deck 5 -on deck 3 and 4 you have to go to deck 5 if you had to move from one end to another. Cabin: We had balcony cabin 9281, which had an excellent location, as it was near the elevators, lido, buffet and bar. There was no noise from the public areas. The cabin itself was slight wider than on the US ships, so you felt that the cabin was larger than on US ships. It was in good condition and had quit hard beds (Which I liked. Restaurant & food: Well this is where the big difference between Costa and US ships really is big. If you want decent food you HAVE to eat in the main restaurants at your specific seating, as the alternative buffet was nearly none exiting. We tried to the buffet one evening and it was a huge mistake: They only have slad and poor poor quality pizza (2 flavours). The pizzas was the worst we have had ever - there was barely no toppings on these, so I would compare those to a flat bread with a bit of cheese and oil on the top - very poor. On US ships you have a broad variaty of dishes during the evening buffet which are very tasty. While at the buffet, there is the usual stuff for breakfast including an omelet station. The variaty is OK, but not as much as on US ships. For lunch it was OK, though it was limited variaty. On US ships you can have Limonade, fruit punch, ice tea or water throughout the day - on Costa you are offered water only, so you had to get other drinks from the bar. There are only very limited personnel to deliver the drinks for you so you will have to line up at the bars to get your drinks. You can also choose to have dinner in the speciality restaurant but did not try that (25 cover charge). The quality of the food in the main restaurant was so so. Sometimes quite delicious - at other times no taste at all. My wife ordered steak on evening and got a small flat piece of dry meat and approximately 30 french fries - that was all. Portions are small and the variaty are again limited compared to US ships. The US ships will beat Costa by far on the food choices, quantity and quality - so don't go Costa if food is a priority for you. Pools: If you don't have kids - forget the pools - they are really overcrowded with kids so it is impossible to have a swim or even to find a spare spot where you can dip. Fellow pasangers: Mainly italians, where you can expect that they smoke more than average, though smoking was not an issue for us - nor inside or outside. You are allowed to smoke in one side of the ship, but the italians smoke all over the ship. On US ships you have very limited smoking and yoiur fellow passangers are US, which we prefer instead of the quite selfish and noisy italians. Drinks: Hey this is great if you are on the AI package. You can order any drinks from the barmenu - except those with a star. The list of drinks available on AI is large and they deliver great drinks including Pina Colada, Daquiries etc. You can also have specialty coffee on the AI package, but not freshly squizzed juice. Other points - Don't expect all the "extra" service you get on the US ships. - The time you are in port is very limited (5 hours or so) compared to the US ships where you will have the most of a day in port. Entertainment: We did see a show or 2 and liked what we saw. We actually prefer the shows on the italian ships compared to the shows on US ships, as the singers and dancers perform very well. At the US ships it seems like the singers try their best to be the new star like Whitney Houston, Tom Jones etc and it becomes often ofthe a pain to listen too. We prefer if the US singers would relax a bit more and just be themselves. Would we go Costa again? - not sure even if we felt that it was a better deal than going with MSC. We prefer US ships as you get better overall deals when you include service, quality, quantity and fellow passengers   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Like most people, we chose Costa because it was the cheap end of the cruise market and we didn't even know if we'd enjoy the experience. If you are reading this, you are looking at the low end of the market and for a cheap cruise ... Read More
Like most people, we chose Costa because it was the cheap end of the cruise market and we didn't even know if we'd enjoy the experience. If you are reading this, you are looking at the low end of the market and for a cheap cruise in the sunshine. Don't let that stop you, because we had a ball! We were so nervous after reading all the reviews on this, and thankfully, not a single one turned out to be true in our case. The ship was full, that's over 3,800 passengers. You are in the hands of each of those 3,800+ people for how they behave and that can change cruise to cruise. On our ship the majority were Italians, second majority English speakers. Language is never a problem as the staff are all international speaking on average 5 different languages, with English as their second language. So from the beginning..... Embarkation - this was messy! We got there by People Mover and the signposts were inadequate to direct us where to go, and asking people that worked there took us to the wrong building twice, dragging heavy suitcases along the way. The crowds headed towards the ship - don't follow! It turned out to be a poorly signposted building where we dumped our cases and then had to proceed to a terminal building with a number. You then wait for your number to be called and join a massive line of people to check in, despite having to check in on line before you leave?! This whole process took around 3 hours and was the worst experience of our entire trip. On board - by the time we got on board it was getting late and the cabins were ready. If you had got there earlier, there was a buffet and welcome drink. We were not shown our cabin, we joined the masses and found it ourselves, cases in there waiting for us. We had a basic inside cabin on the 7th deck - brilliant deck! Excellently located for everything from restaurants to bars by using the stairs. Cabin was small and compact but had everything we needed and lots of space to put everything. It was immaculate. Bathroom was very clean, shower area only no bath, but large shower area and very good shower. The bed was large (2 singles pushed together) and incredibly comfortable. Our Cabin Steward was excellent - I expected a better level of customer service to those that paid for better cabins, but I was wrong. He treated everyone as if they were first class passengers and nothing was ever too much for him, and he was always helpful and cheerful. Each night the beds are turned down, and we walked into towel animals on the bed. Very small thing, but we found we looked forward to seeing what was on our bed each night! The initial pillows we had were too hard, not a problem, they were changed immediately for nice soft ones. Every day our cabin was cleaned to a very high standard, and never once did he get in our way, it all seemed to just happen. Breakfast and Buffet Bars - Breakfast was busy around 0800 - 0930ish. There were queues of people (yes, we had orderly lines the whole cruise!!), these moved fast. Food was always being put out, and in general European breakfast choices (it is an Italian Cruise, so to be expected), with bacon, sausages (European style, not Walls!), pancakes, French Toast, scrambled egg, etc. Always a lot of choice and very nice. There is an omelette station on the Lido Deck, which is where you can also get a later breakfast. Lunch was also Buffet bar - again orderly lines the entire week we were on board and a different theme each day (Mexican, Spanish, Greek, Chinese). The Lido and the Buffet bar tended to do different foods, so if you don't like what you see in one restaurant, then just walk through to the next and see what is on offer there. There was always fish, salad, hams, cheeses, prawns, squid, chicken and beef dishes on offer every day. Again, always fresh food being put out and more than enough choices for everyone to find something they liked. There was a selection of deserts and ice cream on tap. If you didn't fancy trying to find a table in the lunch rush hour, there was an open dining area with waitress service where you get a table on a first come first served basis. We didn't use this, as never really ate in the middle of the rush and enjoyed the food on offer so much, but the people we shared an evening table with enjoyed their lunches away from the lunchtime crowds. This is only available from 11.30 to around 1.30 though. All day Buffet - this is mainly pizza and salad. We only did this twice though as the amount of food on board was more than enough for us not to need to eat between meals. The pizza was margarita or a ham/tuna choice (no tomato - just cheese). I preferred the salad choices over the pizza for a snack, but the pizza was always being made fresh. Each evening there was always someone walking around on Decks 5 and 9 with a tray with different types of food on it too. Evening meals - We were sat at a table with another British couple and next to groups of Americans all travelling. They seem to put you in language groups, which is nice. The couple we sat with were wonderful and we really enjoyed our meals each night. There are 2 sittings, 7pm and 9.30pm. We got the 7pm slot which worked out in our favour in the end. Each night is a 7 course meal, each course is not big, but over the 7 courses it's more than enough for anyone. Some courses you get a selection (starters, pasta, main dish, desert), where there is no choice (ie salad course), select it any way otherwise you won't get it. We wrongly assumed that you got each course. On the other-hand if you don't like a course, you get to skip it. There are also certain foods available every day off the menu (burgers, spaghetti bolognase, beef steak). I stuck with the fish choices every day and not once did I have a bad meal. The food always arrived at a good temperature and I couldn't fault a single meal. Apart from one meat dish (veal), those that choice the meat options each night had no issues either. I can't vouch for the 9.30 sitting being the same service, but can see no reason why it wouldn't be. The waiters at the tables are incredibly busy the whole time, getting food to the tables, drinks, clearing up - they work like mad during this time, but you can always get service. Where we were sitting (Portofino restaurant), our waiters pre-empted our requests - they knew what drinks we would have after our first night, and everything was there waiting for us if we wanted it. There was never any issues getting wine topped up during the meals, or having wine at any point during the meal. We were always served with a smile and a "cheers!" Theatre shows - these were all multilingual shows. We enjoyed them all although some were far better than others. The Animation Team are really great to watch and listen to. Most songs are sung in a variety of languages and the costumes were lovely. A couple of the shows seems to be disjointed from one dance routing to another, but it made for good variety and did help everyone on board understand what was going on. The star acts were great. An acrobatic team from Hungary who were amazing to watch, a great Italian singer who sang in French, German, Spanish, Italian, English and Russian! And an entertainer who didn't actually speak but managed to pull of a silent film show that was so funny to watch using members of the audience. The shows are only on for around 45 minutes so are short enough to enjoy and still have a night afterwards. Bars - right first things first - DO get the drinks package!!!! Drinks are not cheap, and the package is a great package, even if you don't drink a lot. It includes wine, water, soft drinks, coffee, cocktails, and all drinks not marked with a red * on the bar menu. That's most drinks all included. You can get water in a glass throughout all the meals anyway, but you can get large bottles for excursions or sitting up on deck sunbathing during the day. In the reviews we read, smoking was a problem that came up a few times. As I said in the start of this, you are reliant on the other 3,800+ people on board with you. I can honestly say that during the entire week, the only time I noticed smoking was the outside area of the bar on Deck 3 and late at night in the casino. Most of the bars and dance floors are strictly non-smoking around those areas. All restaurants are very strictly no smoking. This was adhered to the whole week of our trip. There were people smoking on deck, but not in huge numbers or to the point that is interfered with our enjoyment. In fact, we didn't even notice it. But this was more to do with the other people on board that same week than anything else, so this can change on your cruise, or any other we take. There are numerous bars, all serving the same drinks, with different entertainment on each night. There is something that everyone will like somewhere on board from the bar point of view. Pools - the pools are small, salt water, not heated and not my favourite places. There weren't an awful lot of kids on board considering a fully booked cruise, but they did seem to fill the front pools in particular. The back one was more adult based, but the pool looked like a bath full of sun-cream rather than an inviting cool dip to cool down in. Jacuzzis are strictly over 16s only, but again, they did resemble a sun cream soup. Not really surprising considering the heat and numbers of people on board, but personally I didn't find them at all inviting and didn't actually use a pool at all, only the jacuzzi. Sun loungers - this is Europe - if you are not up at the crack of dawn with a towel and a personal belonging in hand to tie on a sunbed, then forget it. These are more available when the ship is in dock or shortly before leaving each stop. Despite that lack of them, it didn't bother us. There was more than enough deck space to find a space somewhere and just lie down. It was just more annoying that there were loads of empty sun loungers lying around with just a towel on them! The towels on board are all provided, and as the ship comes in to dock, the pool attendants go around collecting all these up, so this is generally when you can start finding sun loungers after 6am! Excursions - Very well organised really considering the getting on board fiasco! We booked 2 through Costa, but found out afterwards that there are always buses and taxis on hand at every port and you can do these places for very little cost. Getting on and off the ship for excursions was never any issue. The two we did through Costa was Olympia and Akrotiri in Santorini, both of which were excellent with incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides. The other stops we made our own way around. For example in Athens, you can get a taxi to and from the Acropolis for around 20 Euros. In Corfu, you can walk into town from the port. In Dubrovnik, you can get a local bus from the Cruise Terminal into the old town and back again for around 50 Kunas. Once in Dubrovnik centre through, you could use Euros. Disembarking - we drew the short straw with this. You dock at 0900, but have to be out of your cabin by 0800. Your cases have to be packed and out of your room by 0100 and are then taken away for you to collect when you get off the ship. You are each given a colour coded strip that is your disembarkation time. We had the last one - 11am. From 0800 to 11am is a long wait on a docked ship! Although breakfast was supposed to be served only until 0930, we found the Lido deck carried on serving it, and even making eggs to order. We could also still get drinks on board. Despite having to wait, the whole getting off the ship was a lot smoother than the getting on experience. Overall I was very concerned about this cruise because of the reviews. At the end of the day we had voluntarily chosen to cruise with the cheapest on the market, and on a ship designed to take as many people as possible, it was always quantity over quality. Once on board it will always be the other passengers and the staff that dictate your cruise. Maybe we were lucky, everyone lined up for everything, and were polite, courteous and friendly and the staff gave fantastic customer services and we had no issues with languages. At no point did I ever feel that this cruise was quantity over quality. Everyone we met, with the exception of very few bar staff, gave us incredible service and we were always welcomed with a smile. This is a massive ship with a very large number of passengers on board, particularly when fully-booked, but they have an adequate number of very hard working staff who seemed to genuinely enjoy their job and who want to make sure you have a great cruise. If this is the bottom end of the cruising market, then I am intrigued by the other end of the scale based on the experience we had on board. I wouldn't hesitate to go with Costa again, or to do this cruise. We had a fantastic experience where everyone was so friendly and great, but then maybe that's the secret - as my mother used to say, treat others how you expect to be treated yourself, and everyone will treat you like a Queen!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Costa Magica was my fifth cruise and I am not going to compare it to Celebrity or NCL. Just my opinion of the Cruise ex Venice. This was my second time on a Costa Cruise, it was a surprise treat for my sister and the value and the ... Read More
Costa Magica was my fifth cruise and I am not going to compare it to Celebrity or NCL. Just my opinion of the Cruise ex Venice. This was my second time on a Costa Cruise, it was a surprise treat for my sister and the value and the itinerary was excellent. First of all I warned my sister that my last Embarkation/Check-In at Venice was a nightmare, upon arrival this time nothing had changed. Chaotic is the word to use so we sat in the organised and pleasant adjacent terminal where the Princess Cruise Passengers were greeted and checked in swiftly and professionally, was great to watch. We waited for our Boarding number to be called and went to the queue if you can call it that, the passengers didn't really queue you just push your way through. We were on board within 2 - 3 hrs from the time of bag drop. The ship was late departing, again but the daytime sail out of Venice is stunning, there was no sail out party. Before we travelled I called to change our Cabin as I booked a Premium Inside, for higher deck and location. They allocated Deck 2! I was changed to Deck 6. I was asked what dinner service I would like, I said late please. The initial greeting is lame and then you are left to your own devices. Never introduced to cabin attendant. The Cabins overall are fine except for the really old tv s and the remote control that sometimes works. I prepaid for all inclusive so we went for our first celebration drink only to be told that we were not all inclusive and to go to customer service to change your card. Went and joined the massive queue there only to be told to go back to the bar and ask them to stick a sticker on your room card to say you were all inclusive, what a hassle. Had to show confirmation that I prepaid all inclusive just unprofessional. The dinner service allocated was early, so back to queue to change, hassle. First night dinner service was dire, it was like pulling teeth to get conversation and all the guests did was brag about themselves, we changed table for the rest of the duration and what great couples / fun we had. Miserable waiter, you were lucky to get two glasses of wine and he would not leave the bottle on the table. All inclusive? The first night in the cabin was noisy as I didn't realise they put us in a cabin right above the atrium with the live awful band with an accordion player, the bunk beds above our twin beds kept on creaking and rattling all night. The next day I asked to change Cabins and was pointed to a sign saying that the the ship was full and there was nothing they could do. At dinner the lovely couple next to us told us they had to change cabin, no problem. I just fixed the bunk beds myself and had ear plugs for the nightly late live music until at least 1am. I was not going to let it spoil the cruise. The pools are full of kids, so you can only go in for a dip, the hot tubs although signs up saying not for kids were ignored, nothing was enforced. The breakfast, lunch service at the restaurant can be abrupt and you and directed to sit with strangers. The buffet is a bizarre experience, rude manager, I tried to get a coffee at 1045 as breakfast does not finish until 11am only to be told we are now CLOSED FOR LUNCH PREPARATION! Lunchtime buffet experience is like a school canteen more queues, crap pizza and just a poor selection of food. My main complaint is lack of HYGIENE on the ship, there are hardly any hand disinfectants and some were empty and to be honest I hardly saw anyone use them, this put me off, if I ever read of novo virus on a Costa ship I will know why. It was the same on my last Costa Cruise and I want them to address this. At ports when boarding don't expect any cold towels, water or again hand disinfectants when boarding. There were kids everywhere on the ship and walking around late at night midnight/1am or sleeping on seats in the Casino, couples walking with push chairs....just bizarre. To summarize the crew/service were inconsistent but we had our favourites and tipped but the ports of call was the main draw. Would I recommend the cruise, yes, only if you get a good value pronto price, if you have patience, get a decent cabin and don't expect too much. Also you have to pay for ironing, you cannot request an iron and do it yourself or bring a travel iron on board. The all inclusive is deff worth it! so that's a good tip. Don't accept the gross cheap wine at dinner ask for a pinot grigio or whatever you like, there is a limited choice. In the bars you can order unlimited prosecco, very good, cocktails, spirits, beers, bottles of water etc. so highly recommend. Excellent ports of call but you have limited time so make the most of it. Disembarkation we took our own cases off so could leave when we wanted to. Good mix of guests, mainly European friendly and you can practice your Italian, French, Spanish, mingle. I can't remember the amount of British, Canadians, Americans, Australians on board approx 300? or more. This is just my opinion and experience. I am a travel agent of 17 years so I like to travel independently. To be honest the Excursions were not extortionate and glad we took the excursion in Santorini. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I normally cruise with a friend on an 'adult orientated' ship, however my niece turned 18 and I accompanied my sister in law on this cruise as her birthday gift. I had read reviews on Costa and was not looking forward to this ... Read More
I normally cruise with a friend on an 'adult orientated' ship, however my niece turned 18 and I accompanied my sister in law on this cruise as her birthday gift. I had read reviews on Costa and was not looking forward to this trip that much. However, after the initial shock to the senses, noise, smoking areas, I settled down and ended up really having fun. Fun is what Costa is all about, and they certainly go all out to make every day as good an experience as you can have. Now, smoking.....I am almost militant about non smoking, and I was prepared for the fact that smoking is allowed throughout the ship, but unlike the previous reviewer I did not find the whole ship to be 'filled with smoke'. It is allowed on one side of the ship, both inside and out, and throughout the Casino. I found that people did stick to this most of the time, and never found it an issue to find somewhere smoke-free. The idea that it would give you sinus problems is frankly ridiculous, and if you have problems with your sinuses, perhaps it is better to travel on another line. In Europe the anti-smoking lobby is far smaller than in the UK, or USA, and Costa would go broke if they banned smoking altogether. Surely this is what the member reviews are for, and if you take the trouble to write one, surely you must have read some! That's all about that. The ship is decorated in a style which is not to my taste, full of bright colours and I found the cafeteria restaurant to be quite dark away from the windows, not helped by the paint used. The food at breakfast was varied, and although the food was not of a luxury standard, it was well cooked and fresh. The lunchtime buffets, were dotted around the decks, and each day was a different nationality buffet, Spanish, German, Italian, and the seafood was really lovely, there was calamari, mussels and large prawns on more than one occasion. In fact, we almost enjoyed the lunches above dinner. Dinner service was not of the standard of Celebrity, but we had a waiter and a bus boy who were pleasant, and helpful, and remembered our drinks order. We personally could never have eaten the 7 courses, and normally a starter, main and possibly an ice cream was enough. My niece generally had the pasta starter as a main, and there was no problem with this, in fact they were always accommodating, even though they were run off their feet. Several evenings they had a 'party' type night, and the poor waiters had to either stand with torches, and our waitress even took part in some dancing on the balcony! Although my niece is 18, she is slightly special needs, and as we took the drinks deal, they also allowed her to just have the children's one, saving my sis in law about 70.00. I looked all over for a comparison to see if the drink deal was good value and couldn't find one, so I'm giving some examples here. Cocktails are 6.95, spirits 5.30, cappuccino 2.50, soft drinks (glass) 2.95, beer 4.90. All these are in euros, and plus 15% service. It doesn't take much adding up to see that 19.50 euros per day including the 15%, is an amazing deal. We're not big drinkers, but with a couple of coffees, and 3 or 4 drinks per day, we saved hugely! The shows were amazing, and not all in Italian at all, as good as West End, and although I don't usually attend on other lines, I found myself looking forward to them! In all, the crew and staff were really friendly, the officers much in view, and everyone went to so much trouble for you to have a good time. In the end, you get what you pay for, and you need to check on smoking, as they say, you pay your money and you take your choice. If you want value for money, great service, and lots of fun...give them a try! Go Costa! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
SMOKE OR DIE, OR BOTH. Great Cruise if you like second hand smoke everywhere you go. We booked a 7 night cruise on Costa Cruises from Venice to Greece particularly to visit the sites of Olympia and Athens, for our daughter who had studied ... Read More
SMOKE OR DIE, OR BOTH. Great Cruise if you like second hand smoke everywhere you go. We booked a 7 night cruise on Costa Cruises from Venice to Greece particularly to visit the sites of Olympia and Athens, for our daughter who had studied the Greek legends. She is 4.75. This was accomplished. Before offering my negative comments, I do want to say that the staff on the boat was wonderful. Rarely have I seen so many people working so hard to make the cruise a success, and for so little in wages. It is clear the the cruise line pays extremely low wages because almost all the staff was from disadvantaged countries in Central America, South America, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Philippines. These hard workers not only provided service, they did it in 4-6 different languages! Italian, English, Spanish, French, were basic, plus some Portuguese and Russian, and other languages. Unlike some other reviewers, we did not have any language problems with the other passengers or any staff. However, Costa Cruises is not friendly to NON-smokers and it was like riding in a smoke filled room for 7 days and nights. I felt like our boat was trailing a smoke cloud down the Adriatic Sea. Costa allows smoking in all the bars and lounges, including Guest reception. This interior smoke permeates the entire boat, and can be smelt in the cabin and even in other areas and on decks that do not have smoking. By the pool, there are supposed to be both smoking and non-smoking areas. I could never find any non-smoking area, there was smoke everywhere. It was so bad that on the last morning when there was smoke inside the non-smoking restaurant, no smoke alarm went off, and most people ignored it, even though it was clear that the smoke was not from cigarettes. I became ill from the smoke with a sinus infection, beginning day 2, as did my wife and daughter. Although Costa purports to offer a free medical checkup if you develop signs of influenza (and I had at least 4 symptoms) we could not obtain one. This was not my previous cruise experience and in my opinion, it is completely inappropriate to put a persons unhealthy recreational habit in higher priority to the good health of another. We did not book a cruise to be sneezing, coughing and uncomfortable for 7 days just so others could puff away like a teepee of American Indians. It is also my opinion that Costa needs to come into the 21st Century. Smoking is now recognized as a serious health hazard to non-smokers, and smoking is banned in offices, restaurants and modes of transport (planes and trains) in respect to the health of others. Smoking bans on planes also are a recognition that smoking constitutes a FIRE HAZARD, something that is really a problem on a cruise ship. I see a lot of reviews making negative comments about the food, deservedly so. First, the tap water is not drinkable in the cabin, rather important because you must pay 7.50 E for the bottle of water (I thought it was complementary until I read the fine print, but I could replace it once I got the drink package.) THEREFORE, YOU MUST GET THE DRINK PACKAGE for 19.50 E per person per day, everyone in the reservation must get it. Lunch buffet was pretty ordinary unless you were able to find a carving station, but they moved them from day to day and you had to search by the smoke filled central pool area to find them. Any pasta station had a long line. The breakfast buffet was good but it took me several days to realize that they were offering an omelette station. No ketchup/chili sauce/salsa/condiments with breakfast. The dinners were great if you had just been released from prison in Bulgaria. We shared a table with another couple and I think everyone sent back at least one plate during the cruise. There were 7 courses per meal, Appetizer, Soup, Pasta, Main plate, Salad, Cheese and dessert. The portions enabled you to order all 7 courses and not be stuffed. In all fairness, though most of the choices were pretty bland, I enjoyed the Osso Bucco and the Veal Shanks on separate nights, just the portion was so small, 4 bites. We also had service issues the first night, table not set up correctly, missing plates, glasses, cutlery that was not provided during the meal; and one of our group got 3 courses served so late that we had all finished our course before his came. When I reported this to management, I was told that this happens first night of a cruise, but this does not make any sense, because the staff was not there for their first night. I must say that the problems were resolved immediately, and our serve staff was very attentive after that. We won't be booking on COSTA again, until it changes its policies towards smoking and bans smoking from the interior of the ship and in any eating area, including around the pool. I want to commend our Steward, Juan Alvarado, our waiters Jose and Jorge at table 16 in the restaurant. and our photographer, Michael who each provided wonderful service. Juan Alvarado was an absolute pleasure and greeted us with warmth and a smile every day. He made us fell like were there for a family visit. The boat- claims to have 5500 works of art. Well, if you count the nudes on the wallpaper in the corridors, maybe. Some of these "works of art" are large pixeled photo reproductions of actual art. There are some very nice sculptures by the pools, if you can see them through the smoke. (jk :)) We did see the tea set but no coins. The marionettes were nice. But we mostly saw them the first day when exploring because these were in bars and lounges where smoking was mandatory and we could not stand to go into them after day 2. I am still coughing as I write this. The boat was a comfortable cruise. But we missed Santorini because "there was no comfortable anchorage due to winds and waves, not good for the transfers". So the chart of our cruise showed a hard right turn after we were 5 hours out of Athens. Then we cruised to Corfu at 9 knots, after having gone SSE at 17-19 knots. The smoke cloud we were trailing caught up to us. In all fairness, we did have some rolling during the cruise between Athens and Corfu, and at a higher rate of speed, even the 100,000 tons could have been unsteady. One bad aspect of sharing the cruise with 3450 smokers and 50 non smokers (jk, again) was that we created our own crowds everywhere we went. When we arrived at Katakolon for Olympia, there were 25 buses lined up for the Costa Cruise excursions. We took Katakolon Express and were the first bus out and to Olympia 20 minutes earlier than the other ones. By the time we left, we could have walked back to the harbor on the tops of the buses. BTW- HIGHLY RECOMMEND KATAKOLON EXPRESS/PIRAEUS EXPRESS for their Olympia/Athens tours. I thought the furnishings were very tasteful and comfortable, lounges, restaurants and theatres. Our cabin had 2 drop down twin beds to sleep 4. But we all piled into the 2 twins pushed together. The Internet package was $$$$$$$, unbelievable in this day. Equal to 3 months of service at home, at least. Squok Club for kids was conducted in Italian, but daughter is flexible and made friends in all languages. She produced coloring and a mask. They had a stage production the 5th day that they all participated in, very nice with lots of costumes. They did show movies, in Italian, which included Tangled and Wreck it Ralph, both of which we knew. Since daughter is a movie-a-holic, she was happy. Daughter was sold on going to Squok Club from day one and never said she did not want to go. We explored Corfu without her, and while I was sorry she missed the Mon Repos museum and Mouse Island (which is a little itty bitty teeny weeny island at the end of the peninsula near the airfield on which there lives a little itty bitty teeny weeny itsy bitsy mouse) I am sure she would have complained about the walking, she was happy at Squok Club. I used the fitness club a couple of times, particularly to avail myself of the steam room to try to clear up my sinuses. Good variety of machines, busiest from 9-11, very quiet before and after. Steam room was great. There was an internal Jacuzzi there, co-ed, but mostly a geriatric hot tub party. I did not see anyone under 55 use it. Overall: so so, even through the smoke. Poor because of it.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
The good (and there were lots of good areas) are as follows, beautiful ship exceptionally clean in all areas, lovely inside cabin 8239 on deck 8,spacious not claustrophobic excellent staff! The catering/bar staff were hard working ... Read More
The good (and there were lots of good areas) are as follows, beautiful ship exceptionally clean in all areas, lovely inside cabin 8239 on deck 8,spacious not claustrophobic excellent staff! The catering/bar staff were hard working courteous and always smiling and a pleasure to chat to ! Lots of choice for breakfast and lunch in the buffet restaurant but if you wanted to eat there in the evening only Pizza/Salad is available it would appear.This didn't bother us as we like to dress up and ate in the restaurant every evening.If you like to have large portions in the restaurant then go for the 7 courses that are available, we didn't feel any more than 4-5 was needed ourselves but that's just our opinion ! The drinks package was amazing providing most premium brands of beers spirits wine and cocktails, also fruit juices large bottled waters and speciality coffees but not coffee with alcohol content. Lots of bars all very different from each other all with music/singing ! The ports of call were amazing ! Value for money exceptional !! The not so good- EMBARKATION - this has got to be the longest time we have ever had to wait to get on board over 3 hrs from getting to Port to getting on board! SAFETY DRILL - long winded, drawn out, little information regarding what was going on staff keeping watch over us constantly counting rows of people and the public address in so many languages we lost count, muster station with lots of people all wearing life jackets for so long in the heat that thought we would all pass out before we really new what was going on. Think these areas could be worked on !! ENTERTAINMENT - not bad on occasions however on others quite boring and amateurish in fact the show on the last night which was done by many on board crew members was by far the most entertaining and memorable. Room for improvement - The food, not the worst we have ever eaten but certainly not as good as other cruise lines we have been with. The words " could do better " spring to mind. AREAS TO WATCH OUT FOR- mandatory daily charge which CANNOT be opted out of, INTERNET please please keep a watch on this !! we had very poor coverage most days with little or no signal, my partner needed access on a daily basis to keep in touch with his business at home, he opted to buy a Internet package which should not have cost him more than around $30 however when our final bill was made up he realised something very wrong as he had been billed completely different from what he had requested and had a bill for over $170 !! as it was only presented to our cabin in the early hours of the morning he went straight to customer services upon waking to be told that nothing could be done by them as the bill was already made up and that he would have to correspond with Costa upon return to UK, this did spoil things for us and we are currently in discussion with Costa over this. A WORD OF WARNING - CHECK YOUR BILL WITH RECEPTION BEFORE THEY PRINT IT OUT JUST IN CASE ANYTHING IS AMISS AS YOU HAVE TO PAY REGARDLESS ONCE IT HAS BEEN PRINTED OUT !! We loved this itinerary of Ports visited on this cruise however we were disappointed to find that Santorini and Dubrovnik were only for a few hours and would have preferred longer here and due to ship not docking at quayside and a tender system for transfer we actually only had around 2 hours ashore by time our numbers were called. Overall opinion of Costa Magica- would we use this line again? a very easy answer Yes we would !! Was it good value ? - It was exceptional value ! - Would we recommend to others ? - we certainly will be !! Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
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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