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About acastell

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  1. Blu*Donau and abitaturbodog, sage advice and I agree with you...will keep this in mind in the future... Sportguy's post did a much better job than I did at expressing exactly what I felt about the original posters comments in a very clear and more succinct write up. tgenius, calling someone a liar about their opinion is not fair, I agree. But my use of the word 'lying' was provoked, as Sportsguy pointed out in 1 simple sentence: I usualy wouldnt say anything xause people ahve different opinions (bad food, bad shows and so on), but this was not opinion any more, it was facts that were deciving so I had to writte something back for all the poeple that will take this ship So, to all reading, I will go back to my 'forum' lurking self with my conscience clean that I may have helped clear up a post in which someone may have 'misspoken' and will try to let the 'one post wonders' ( I like that term a lot!) die on the vine...believe it or not, at 38 years old, I am a still a new 'forumer', so Blu*Donau and abitaturbodog, your advice is helpful.... Ciao from Rome...
  2. For what it's worth, some of these points I experienced on the Fortuna last week. I don't think someone is "lying" it's their opinion, and everyone's may differ, however when multiple opinions align (Customer Service being poor) that starts to point towards fact. I am in no way, and would never discount someones feelings, as I tried to point out in my post...but I did write: "Again, I do not want to sound confrontational, well except on the few points that I think you are flat our lying (or greatly mistaken)...." So, it is 100% fact, based on my final bill that I have sitting here on my desk, plain as day, that the Shore Shuttles are 5 Euro per person, NOT 10 like the original poster claimed. So, I made the above statement, giving the original poster and 'excuse' that perhaps the were 'mistaken'. Also, It is also fact, that we were, in the main dining room, not up sold dessert, as there are 5 to desserts to choose from almost every night on the menu, including a soufflé. And, the only selling was a very nice Molinari Sambuca con 3 mosques, for 1 Euro...nothing to spend at all for a nice aperitif! This, I think was a nice gesture on Costa's part, as the same pour was 4.50 Euro in the bad...the original poster also failed to mention that we were given a FREE glass of Champagne 2 of the nights (not Dom or Veuve, but it was bubbly and yellow ;)...must have been a ploy to get us drunk so we would go spend money in the Casino... Customer service...well, I was amiable to the staff, did not and never will take anyone for granted, and respect thier VERY difficult jobs, the I NEVER felt that they were complacent...but, this is a 'feeling' and we are all entitle to our own... But, the selling and shuttle fees are not feelings, these are mistakes...OK, is that better, not lies, mistakes...also, the original poster was 'mistaken' or 'unlucky' that their balcony was only cleaned once, when ours was cleaned 3 times...mistake or lie? Anyway, these are review boards and you can glean from them what you will, I am an american, with two kids and a wife, from a nic(er) community in California, who vacations in above average resorts and such, and I can safely say that I would have NO problem sailing with Costa again in the future, spending what I spent and expecting an identical experience...and, I can guarantee you I spent more for my cruise for the 4 of us, then a 2 person group...but, this is all good as you (readers) can now have 2 points of view... Happy cruising...no hard feelings anyone...cheers!
  3. I just read you post and I too was on the same cruise, also American, but living in Europe...I am surprised by your some of your experiences, and sorry...as many people rely on these sights for information, I want to add my comments to yours.. One of the first things we noted with Costa onboard the Serena is the tolerance of smoking everywhere The ship is basically cut in half...all major rooms, pool areas etc, are divided down the center...ie: smoking on the left and non smoking on the right. Also, one of the bars, that I know of, the cupid lounge is smoke free, 100%...also, in the dining room, there is no smoking allowed...I, and my wife and kids, are very smoke sensative, and never had an issue at all, perhaps we got lucky in our seating choices... Also, we noted the abundance of children on-board and the lack of adequate programs to keep the children engaged. I brought my 2 kids, 7 years old. They were in the Kids Camp most of the time, they loved it! The camp runs from 9am to 11pm daily, with a break for lunch and dinner...I will also say that I was guilty of letting my kids swim alone (no kids under 12 can be unaccompanied- costa rule) and the security guard did call this to my attention...Now, unfortunately, the weather, as you know, basically closed the outside deck for at least 5 of the 11 days, so all of us, kids included, were at the 2 inside pools, perhaps, making it worse...And, we went on this cruise as this was our kids spring break from their Italian school...so, I would anticipate the kid load was heavier than usual! eople walk around at dinner trying to sell you appetizers on trays, extra desserts or drinks – unreal. THE ONLY THING we were sold at dinner was an aperitif...Sambuca, grand marnier etc...AND, for only 1 euro...are you kidding me? That is almost free, I looked forward to this gesture...a Sambuca is 4.50 euro at the bar, so 1 euro is almost free...now, they have to charge something otherwise everyone would grab one and most would be wasted...I never saw dessert or extras for sale, but again, we could have been very lucky in our seating choice! We purchased the bottle water drink package 29.99 euros for 13 bottles – equivalent is almost $50 (USD) for 13 bottles!! Well, we always had a pitcher of ice water on the table when we sat down, ice cold and fantastic! Free...Yes, 50 dollars is a lot for water, but 29 dollars (the price 3 years ago when we had parody with the Euro) is not bad, 2 dollars per bottle, at a restuarant, stAndard) not sure you can blame the ship for the, as you pointed out, 'sagging' dollar. I recommend you have the free pitcher of water...tasted great! And, water is available 24/7 from the water machines and the Bars (when open, close at 1:30am) Also, you should know Costa charges 10 euros (almost 17 USD per person) for a shuttle bus at the various ports you arrive to take you to the town! First time we ever paid to get from the ship to town. Just another illustration of the constant nickel and diming we found tacky and uncomfortable. OK, come on! It was this statement that prompted me to write my response...the cost is 5 euro, per person, period end of sentence....if you got charged 10, call the ship!!!! I bought all my tickets from the kiosks and paid 5 euro per...this is a lie and really bleed credibility from your entire review...and, you do NOT HAVE TO TAKE THE SHUTTLE...if you want to walk, add 20 min and walk into town...we did...we shuttled twice as my kids wanted to...also, there are taxis you can take, but these will cost the same or more... SERVICE: Well, we never ordered room service, no comment here, I am sure you are right about the charge...no less than 5 staffers were calling me by name by the end of the cruise...always attentive...I wore a smile and was appreciative for any and all work done on my behalf! That comes though and usually brings out the best in others... FOOD: Yes, not the best, but we always had a nice selection and found something for all of us, but yes, there were some low points in this area...but, the fruit was fresh and fantastic, every day, every meal! CLEANLINESS: I too had a balcony, we were cleaned 3 times, in fact we were instructed to lock our balcony on those days as folks would be on our balcony...now, we are on a ship and we had some serious seas, so even on the 9th deck, our glass got wet, and the salt dies white, so what can you do...do way that your view was worthless because of a 3 foot high piece of glass that was opaque due to the salt of the ocean on a cruise ship, well, we have different standards...we again got lucky with our cabin I guess as we had 3 cleanings... EXCURSIONS: Never did any, we explored on our own...no comment here... VALUE: YOU MAKE AN EXCELLENT POINT HERE!!! Yes, the dollar makes anything int'l expensive...our on board expensed was almost 500 Euro, so we had to basically add 750 dollars to our cruise budget...but, onboard expenses are a part of cruising if you drink etc...so, if we paid in dollars, we would have spent $500, so, really, the added impact of the weak dollar is $250 dollars...a cost that I am willing to pay to get out of the Carribean and into the Med! Again, I do not want to sound confrontational, well except on the few points that I think you are flat our lying (or greatly mistaken)....you see, I found this sight AFTER I booked my crusie...and, after reading one horrible review, I was in a state of depression that I just spend 'our' money on a horrible cruise...I was literally ready to try and cancel due to illness or some such an excuse...the point of my response is to offer a different view to some of your points...neither of us are right or wrong, just saw the same crusie ship with different eyes...and, as far as the 10 euro exursion fee commment and the constant selling at dinner...well, with erroneous statemtns like this it makes me think you have something out for Costa and therefore wrote a tainted review...if you choose to respond to me, which I and the other reading will welcome, please 'try' to point out 1 other 'good' think about your experience...or not... Please excuse grammar and spelling...really did not want to spend so much time on this, just trying to pass on information, not win a prize..
  4. Well, paying for 4 cruise members, we opted to upgrade to a Balcony rather than go on excursions, so I cannot comment on any...we are also living in Rome for 6 months, and have been exploring italy and will end out time in France and England, so we feel 1) We are pretty good about doing our own thing and 2) seen some very nice sights in Europe to last us a lifetime... Now, Barcelona is huge and we opted to simply walk and shop the Ramblas...spent a few hours, saw some nice sights, but with only 6 hours in a huge city, we were more interested in strolling the streets.. Casablanca, yikes, get ready...this is the longest port visit, from 8am to 10pm...and you set your clocks back the night before, so you add an hour to your day...I think, after experiencing all of the haggling that went on in that town, that the Port fees are waived, or reduced, the longer you stay in Port, keep the tourists in the city as long a possible...all I can say is that travel their reminded me of my few months in India 10 years ago, a constant negotiation...we walked to the Mosque, about 25 miin, they took a taxi to the old city, then back to the boat...nuff said! Canary Islands, the first one, Acerife (sp?) is a nice town among an arid landscape, due to a Volcano that lasted 8 years (if memory serves)...nice town, however, reminds me of Mexico, low level casa style bldgs... Tenerife, beautiful! Great town to walk around...really enjoyed it... Funchal, THE BEST!!!! Absolutely gorgeous! We took the gondola (walk is about 20 min) and enjoyed the views, then ate lunch at one of the restaurants at the base...try to avoid the first few restauratns,keep walking down the street, away from the boat, a few hindred yards...the menus get cheaper and the ambiance much more local! Make sure you order the Schpada (sp?) the local fish, lives 7 miles below the surface, very black with big eyes...wonderful! Malaga- another nice port town, probably our second favorite behind Funchal...only a few hours there, so simply strolled the streets... Sorry I cannot help with the excursions... One tip...the juice (OJ and grepfruit) from the juice machines in the buffet (Deck 9) is no more than flavored water...the fruit stand near the pool, in front of the Bar, has the best fruit (Papaya, mango etc...) as well as real juice...also, the back pool, in the complete back of the ship (also deck 9) is MUCH quieter and less hectic as no kids are allowed in the pool... Feel free to ask me any questions...I will try to check back to the site occasionally...
  5. Quick review for those of you interested...forgive spell check and grammar, just want to get you the info and trying to catch up with my work doe to my absence...anyway... I have to say, for any of you that are hesitant about cruising with Costa after reading some of these reviews, I can safely say that I had a wonderful experience…My wife and 2 kids, twin girls 7 years old, Americans, left Savona on the 13th on the 11 day cruise to the Canary Islands, in the Serena…we had a Balcony, #8350, that slept 4 with at least a queen size bad and two twins, on that pulled out the wall…great steward, Francis, always there when you need him… Embarkation was amazing, almost walked on the ship, no waiting...bags arrived in our room within 30 min... We had every dinner in the Dining room, Restaurant Seres, and the service was top notch, really! We are no strangers to fine cuisine, and I am the first to admit that this is NOT first class food, but it by no means offends, and in most of the entrée selections, exceeded our rather honest expectations…the soups, were across the board, bad…but, they offered ‘flavor’ while we drank our wine… All lunches, with kids, were in the buffet…NO lines, always a table, and always clean…really nice selection with very good fresh fruit everyday! Breakfast was the low point, French toast and pancakes were just plain bad…but, the poached eggs in the Dining room were very good, as was the fruit… The kids camp was very well run…our kids, pretty finicky, were excited to go ‘most’ of the time…sometimes, the lure of the pool was just too strong! No medical breakout, flu, etc…just a very clean ship with an excellent staff, that once out knew them, greeted you by name…really refreshing for what is obviously not a Cunard type cruise line… Overall, no complaints with the experience, save for the rather poor breakfast… Hope you have fun! AC
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