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    little village 3rd rock from sun
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    History, architecture...
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  1. Costa has facilities for both antigen and PCR tests aboard to perform all required tests. While for debarkation in Italy a test is not mandatory, in Spain it is. It should be no surprise to Costa that people need the one or other test at the end of a cruise for flying home. Every country has different rules and these permanently change as well. Impossible to know what will happen until May next year.
  2. The Toscana shall join the fleet in December indeed. Here a press statement about the newest Costa ships: https://www.carnivalcorp.com/news-releases/news-release-details/costa-cruises-continues-its-gradual-restart-2021-2022-its-three
  3. Yes, they have a photo package (Costa calls it “All You Can Photo”) for all pictures taken from all travelling in your cabin all around aboard, during boarding and so on, except photos taken in special “Shade” sessions, these you can book separately. In my next booking the price is 149 €. I have no kids, but often saw the groups around the ships, so at least they offer a lot of activities. There is no real all-inclusive formula with Costa. The basic tariff is with very few exceptions without drinks (coffee with breakfast for example is always included), while Premium is at least with Pranzo & Cena (drinks during lunch and dinner), sometimes with Brindiamo (smallest package that includes bar service as well). But Premium comes with other components as well, from free breakfast in the cabin, which is said to be in the better places on board (I don’t agree in all cases), to 10% off on the next cruise. Everybody in a cabin must use the same package with two exceptions. The smallest children don’t need one, and the only available package for all under 18 contains no alcohol of course - and is cheaper. General price for Pranzo & Cena (alcohol free, some wine and beer in restaurants only during lunch and dinner) is 20 €, Brindiamo (most alcohol free, some wines, beer, spirits, long drinks in all locations) 30 €, Più Gusto (adds a range of cocktails) 35 € and Intenditore (adds most high priced products and mini bar) 48 €. The young ones get Giovani (most things without alcohol everywhere) for 20 €. If you have a package included you can upgrade for just the price difference to every more expensive package.
  4. Yes, Italy, Spain, and France as well are pretty strict at this moment. But I think that this has a reason in the bad experiences they all made. Right now Italy announced further restrictions, lucky enough these restrictions don’t limit tourists further. Greece is a bit more relaxed in this context. Entering Italy from France doesn’t exempt you from being fully vaccinated plus PCR test if you have been in the UK just before. You need to fill-in the PLF and declare where you have been within the 14 days before entering Italy. This has been changed about three weeks ago from quarantine for all from the UK, if the situation in the UK improves further it may become easier. I am travelling from Hungary to Italy and for being vaccinated I don’t need a test. Based on the situation here Italy requires either test or being vaccinated or being recovered. You see, not only every country has different requirements, but also different requirements for different countries.
  5. Generally Italian law applies for Costa. A green pass is only available to those with residence in Italy, but in many cases the national passes have the same value, besides all EU apps and passes the UK documents are accepted as well. Please be aware that entering Italy itself from the UK without quarantine (five days ended by a negative test) needs both: vaccination and a negative test not older than 48 hours. This will have consequences for your child of course in both cases, if boarding in Italy and leaving board when boarding happened elsewhere. So much about Italian law. Boarding a Costa involves a test, for arriving from many countries (including UK) this needs to be a PCR test - at this moment for boarding in Italy and Spain. This is done in the terminal. Further testing half way for seven day cruises is a Costa rule for everybody as well. For participating in excursions where a green pass (or equivalent) is required being vaccinated is enough, in all other cases a test will be done to ensure that the test will be still valid. Required is a green pass when the excursion is visiting in Italy a museum or a restaurant (table inside). As far as I know France has similar rules. This could result in being tested every second or third day for those not fully vaccinated. For debarking in Spain a fresh test is required for everybody. Since testing is required in many occasions a valid test may be available anyway, otherwise on request it must be possible. Don’t forget to use the needed forms before arriving to the different countries.
  6. You won't be alone on the Epic, I'll join on October 6th in Rome.
  7. The man who is going to sail with Costa again is both European and aware that American expectations are sometimes not fulfilled on European lines, which I mostly see as cultural phenomena. Who is - as some reviewers here on CC - scared that not only English is spoken has just expectations that don’t fit. I live on a continent where dozens of languages are spoken and I don’t understand most of them, so my expectations in this direction are definitely different. Of course it is my choice to go with Costa on the world cruise, but I’ve no reason not to go with them. Of course there are minor reasons to complain, but these are mainly the other side of the Mediterranean medal that adds so much to a successful holiday. Back to MSC. I sailed the Fantasia and the ship itself was fine. If she would be sold to another line and trained staff and serious officers would be aboard I could imagine sailing on her again. Food on MSC was eatable, but for sure not of better quality and pretty far away from the real Italian kitchen. Watered down? Yes, perhaps - with a lot of water. However, I got on a diet when I had breakfast in the buffet and had a greasy plate. The next one was dirty as well. This mustn’t happen of course, but even worse: the staff wasn’t interested how dirty things were. The minimal reaction I expect in such a situation is that plates would have been taken away and replaced by clean ones. I expected too much and took bananas and oranges instead. The last morning I spoke with a Dutch couple who had experienced exactly the same. Worst are definitely the safety concerns based on what happened when I was aboard. In Haifa everybody without ship excursion was told to go to the atrium. I went early for having a coffee down there and stood by this soon very close to the staircases. More and more people were pressed into the atrium. Nobody was allowed to leave the atrium, but who walked down the stairs or arrived by lift was pushed into the atrium as well just opposite to my spot. A real man hunt with extreme rude staff in the role of the hunters. Soon parents took their children onto the shoulders, because there was no space left on the ground. I am generally not fearful, but looked where to escape to - just in case. It was just luck that nobody got panic, otherwise many death and hundreds of injured passengers would have been the result. Confronted with these and many more facts MSC didn’t even respond. Perhaps MSC is good enough in transporting containers, but for sure me never again!
  8. MSC is definitely a no go for me. Never seen so serious security problems, such a lack of respect for guests, and dirt as the only time I sailed with them. There are many others offering world cruises as well. I am booked on Costa leaving Venice in January 2022 for a 127 day world cruise. I hope corona restrictions won’t make the voyage impossible.
  9. Congratulations! My level and points are still exactly the same, collected between 2017 and 2019. Costa states “Expiring points 15 June 2022: 0”
  10. The alternative cruise facility in the industrial port of Marghera is now available, roughly 17 km by car from Piazzale Roma in the historical centre or 5 km by taxi boat. https://www.adriaports.com/en/cruises/venice-cruises-start-again-but-from-porto-marghera/
  11. Indeed, things are changing very fast these days. According to Reuters and other sources quarantine is lifted only for those arriving from the UK with completed vaccination AND showing a negative test result.
  12. Sounds as the TA knew what he did. There always were people travelling together but paying separately, just Costa needs to know to be able to link the two numbers to one booking. Yes, the "YouTube experts"… Very popular in Europe as well.
  13. I'll be on a NCL cruise in the Western Mediterranean between Spain and Italy in October and guests arriving from the UK and boarding in Barcelona were informed a few days ago that they are not allowed to leave ship in Italy.
  14. Costa is going to prevent groups to be mixed too much, but is not telling who you may spend your time with or not. In most cases travel companions book together and this makes them to be seated together as well. If I were you I’d ask Costa as soon as possible to be seated together, because you are travel companions anyway. This completely independent whether today’s rules will be still applicable in January or not. Your table always will be allocated before boarding, if booked on premium tariff you can ask for early or late seating and large or small table in Mycosta, but not to be seated with another person. Otherwise you might need to see the maître D for be seated together as soon as possible. Costa tours I have been on were everything between great and bad, as it’s always depending on the guides. Sure, there are always tours that fit into one’s interests and others are clicked away immediately. Although I prefer smaller groups or just doing a city on my own when docked not far away this regulation is no problem for me.
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