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Cruise4Andy

“MAGICA” Truly Spells “MAGIC” In Italian

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We just returned from our cruise on board of the Costa Magica (01/08/06 to 01/15/06) and would like to share our thoughts, impressions and experiences.

 

For those who are waiting for a detailed review of the Costa Magica and the

”Cruising Italian Style” – well, you won’t be disappointed… you just may take some time to read and indulge it.

 

 

DAY 1 – JANUARY 8, 2006 (EMBARKATION, FT. LAUDERDALE):

 

It was a cold morning (yes, for Florida standards) and Port Everglades is just about a two hour drive from our home. We arrived at Pier 21 (that’s where the Magica departed from) at about 11:15. We dropped off our luggage, which was immediately taken care of by porters. My wife and our two teens stayed at the pier, while I parked our vehicle at the centrally located Parking Garage ($ 12.00/day). It is within walking distance, just next to Pier 19 and 21… so by the time I arrived back to my family, our luggage had already left behind the scene in one of the large metal-grid containers, so all we had left was our carry-on luggage. As used to from previous Costa cruises, we entered the terminal. They just had opened the doors for boarding, so we got in line for the security checkpoint and screening. No matter which category you are booked in, you have to go through the same procedure of course, but as we had a Suite, a Costa employee (without us asking) assured us that there would be a Priority Check-In Line for Suite passengers after the screening. The line for the screening was quite long and we waited in line for approximately 25 minutes. The Port Authority of Port Everglades had only one screening point open originally, but eventually opened two more lines… and all the sudden the line was moving quite well.

 

Immediately after the screening, we were directed in a line for a Costa representative to check in. The representative was extremely friendly and efficient, so we actually were taken care of within just minutes (even though we had four people in our group). Well done, Costa!

 

We actually expected to wait somewhere in a waiting area, but to our surprise we were escorted to the walkway to board the ship! Wow… already??? I still couldn’t believe it until we already stood in front of the “Welcome Committee”, to take our pictures. After the obligatory welcome shot, we proceeded to board the

Costa Magica on Deck 3… Wow! The first impression of the main lobby was (again) impressive as with the other Costa ships we’ve been on. Typically Costa, with elegance, style and Italian design!

 

We were asked to proceed towards the theatre (Teatro Urbino) in order to register our credit card. On the way towards the theatre, staff members stood along to greet the new passengers! Believe it or not, we already recognized several staff member from our last cruise on the Mediterranea last year! The first one was our Maire’D, Rafaello. He greeted us, chatted with us and heartly welcomed us back.

 

On the main stage of the theatre, there were four computer stations set up for credit card registration. The line quickly started to shorten, after the announcement was made that there is the opportunity to register the cards at a later point, and… YES!.. that the buffet on Deck 9 was now open! It was just after 12:00 noon, we registered our card and headed for our first meal on board. In my opinion this was the most smoothest and organized embarkation yet.

 

At the buffet we quickly found a table. We wanted to enjoy the now warmer sun and set outside by the pool bar area. We also met up with other members of our group… approximately 20 total. We had a very tasty lunch, including some fine pasta dishes, which were prepared at several temporary stations (usually found during lunch hours)… Yummy!

 

While we were still enjoying our food, the announcement was made, that the cabins are now ready and if you wished so, could now proceed to your cabin. After we finished our lunch, we grabbed our carry-ons and headed down to Deck 7, where our cabin # 7289 was located.

 

THE CABIN

Our cabin 7289 was located just a few steps away from the main elevator shafts, midship. Upon arrival our one of our keys was in the door. We opened our cabin door and… another WOW! moment. What an amazing room! Upon entry, you’ll find a large mirror on your left and a large sliding door closet towards your right. Following on the right is another nice mirror above a granite top desk, followed by a large leather sitting area (which converts in to a full bed – that’s where our teens slept!). Entering the main room, it immediately feels spacious… We have sailed on an inside cabin and a Panorama Suite before, but this topped it all. Large mirror over the entire back wall over the bed, another large sliding door closet (that’s number 2) and a dresser with 8 drawers, granite counter top, with ice bucket, water pitcher and a chilled bottle of Champagne greeted us. In front of the bed were two comfortable chairs and a little table, which had tasty looking canapés on it.

 

Proceeding in the cabin, there is a “dressing room” prior to entering the actual bathroom. The dressing area includes another (huge) granite counter with a little stainless steel sink, lots of drawers, make up area (with chair) and… yes, you guessed it, another large sliding door closet (that’s number 3!).

 

Opening the door to the bathroom, a large granite counter top with double vanity sinks awaited us. Toilet strait ahead and… even a bidet! Truly European! And of course then there was the large Jacuzzi tub/shower combination, large, spacious and elegant.

 

Throughout the cabin you’ll find recessed halogen lights, which can be dimmed nicely. Gives you that extra mood lighting and romantic effect!

 

Heading out to the balcony, we had two teakwood lounge chairs, two regular teakwood chairs and a teakwood table. Room for four, but not quite as spacious as an aft-balcony on the Atlantica or Mediterranea. But still enjoyable and a wonderful view to front and back of the ship. The balconies in a Grand Suite are double the size of a regular cabin, but not wider, just longer.

 

OUR CABIN STEWARD & BUTLER

Shortly after our arrival, Benedicta (our room steward) stopped by to introduce herself. She asked us if we’ve been on Costa before and explained us the general amenities. I love plenty of soft pillows to sleep, and as we only had two in the cabin, I asked Benedicta for some additional soft pillows. Surly, shortly after, we had four soft wonderful pillows to sleep on. Ramil (our butler) also stopped by and gave us some additional information about room service, breakfast, lunch and dinner in the cabin and additional services he or the staff could offer to us.

To both, Benedicta & Ramil, a sincerely warm THANK YOU! They did an outstanding job of keeping our stateroom neat and clean and always stocked with ice, ice water, towels, etc.

 

At 4:00 PM it was time for the Muster Drill or Life Boat Drill. With life vests on, we proceeded to our Muster Station “C”. Costa shortened the time on deck from the previous times. Even though announcements are being made in different languages, it does not seem annoying, nor overly time consuming. After the completed drill, we headed back to our cabin to pack away the life vests.

 

We supposed to set sail at 4:30, but actually departed abut 15 minutes late. We headed out of Port Everglades, following a RCL and Celebrity Cruise Liner. So off we were to San Juan, Puerto Rico, with 919 nautical miles and two sea days ahead of us!

 

SHOWTIME

Prior to our dinner (we booked late seating) our Cruise Director Max presented the Welcome on board Grand Variety Show, which (for our seating) was scheduled for 7:15 PM. What a great show! Lot’s of variety, especially impressive were the Duo Deltai (an acrobatic duo from Hungary) and Costa’s own laser show! Awesome!!! Don’t miss this one!

 

DINING ROOM

Upon request, we were booked in the second seating (late seating). We enjoy having time to just relax after shore excursions or sea days and we used to eat late at home any way. We got ready and proceeded to the Semeralda Restaurant at our scheduled dinner time (8:45 PM). Upon arrival at the restaurant (we were on Deck 4), we were kindly guided to our assigned table, Table # 220.

Our table was a round table for 8, all the way in the back of the restaurant, directly along the large aft windows. So we had wonderful views over the ocean, as long as it was still light out. Our waiter Mariano Morales and his assistant Luis came over immediately to introduce themselves. As Mariano told us at a later time, he only had his Assistant Waiter status, but was given the opportunity by the Maitre’D to serve two tables during our cruise. And what a wonderful job Mariano did! During the entire cruise he was not only fun, but extremely efficient, helpful and went out of his way for us in all respects! Thank you, Mariano, I certainly hope Costa will see the value in your outstanding performance. By next time, I am sure you’ll be a Head Waiter!! You deserve it!!

And most amazing… Rafaello was OUR Maitre’D. We also asked him about our past waiter, Brian Baptista from the Mediterranea. To our surprise, Table 220, was Brian’s table, but he left for his long deserved time off and went back to Bombay, India to spend time with his family! We could not believe it! That’s how small the world is!

 

After our first wonderful six course dinner we took some more time to explore our new home for the next week and checked out the magnificent “Magica”.

 

 

DAY 2 – JANUARY 9, 2006 (AT SEA)

This is a great opportunity to really explore the ship… a day at sea! After a nice and delicious breakfast from the buffet on Deck 9, my wife scheduled some Spa treatments (this was her Christmas present) in the Club Saturnia. At 11:15 AM we had a “Welcome Aboard” reception with the Captain, as we were booked in a Suite. At this reception, the captain truly will come around the room (only about 25 people total in attendance), shake your hand and chat with you.

 

After the champagne, my wife enjoyed an extended spa treatment, I went up on deck to get some rays. There were more than plenty of sun chairs available on almost any deck. If you like to be a little bit secluded from the rest, head to the front on deck 11 and 12, or midship on deck 12… lots of room, although it might be a bit windy… And windy it was!

That day the sea got rougher and there were white caps on the ocean as far as they eye could see…

 

When you explore the ship, don’t miss out on the front observation decks on several levels… go past the cabins on Deck 10, 9, 7 and 6, you’ll find either on or two doors which will lead to the outside of the front deck… Great view and and ideal spot to take some picture, video shots (especially deck 9, right on top of the bridge) or to live out your own “Titanic – Jack, I’m flying” fantasy! ;-)

 

Day 2 was the first out of two formal nights, called the “WELCOME GALA”. Instead of going to our regular table, we decided to make a reservation (actually our butler Ramil did it for us) at Club Vincenza. We attended the Welcome Gala Cocktail Party at 7:45 PM with Captain Giuseppe Russo in the Urbino Theatre on Deck 3 (but also includes Deck 4 & 5). During the Cocktail Party, you’ll be served fruit punch, champagne and hors’deuvres. At 8:30 we headed up to Deck 11 for Club Vincenza. When we arrived only one other couple was almost done with their dinner… so on a ship with about 3300 passengers, we had our own, private club restaurant! And another surprise: Angela Antos (also previously on the Mediterranea) recognized us and welcomed us back… Angela is a wine waitress and also drink waitress in all different areas of the ship. What a warm hearted and personal welcome! We had an outstanding meal! Lots of personal attention (of course) and a romantic with live piano player… just for us… and the dinner! Exceptional, outstanding and unbelievable!!! 10+++ rating!

Our waiter Aida Borbajo took great care of us and showed pride in her job! Thank you Aida for a wonderful and memorable evening! You did an outstanding job! Angela… well what can I say… How you recognized us after one year and thousands and thousands of people you see every week…Wow! Impressive!

You are a wonderful person, and always wear a smile! We enjoyed being with you throughout the entire week and only hope that you’ll be on our next cruise again!

 

After a filling and wonderful dinner event, it was time for “MAGIC MOMENTS, another great stage show, with lots of variety, music and performances!

As Max, our cruise director used to say… “Give it uuuuup, ahhhh!”

 

During the day and night, we experienced about 50 mph wind. You could feel the sway and the motion, but overall the Magica is sailing strong and stable. There were quite a few people looking for some “seasick pills”… Those are available at any time at the Guest Information counter on Deck 3 free of charge (I picked up some for my wife and my son as they felt a little “woozy”).

 

 

DAY 3 – JANUARY 10, 2006 (AT SEA & SAN JUAN, PR)

Another day at sea. The wind has calmed and the sun is shining bright! Another wonderful day and great opportunity to get some tan. Again, more than plenty of deck chairs are available (definitely no shortage, as on some decks they are still stacked and not even put out). I am still wondering where all the people are???

Sailing with approximately 3300 on board, the ship seems empty and not crowded at all. The pools were all very clean and crystal clear!

 

Due to rough weather, heavy sea and wind, our arrival in San Juan got delayed, but only minimal. We docked at approximately 5:20 PM (5:00 PM planned), but it seemed that it took forever to get clearance by the local authorities. After over one hour, we finally got off the ship and we were ready to explore Old Town of San Juan. We strolled through the little streets and narrow pathways, bought some nice cigars and other little souvenirs. Unfortunately it started raining and walking around turned out to be a little wet experience… but after a few stops at several stores it stopped raining and we eventually proceeded back to the ship, nevertheless we did not want to miss dinner, which was set for 8:30 PM. The dining room was less crowded, as some people opted to explore San Juan and not return to the ship for dinner, I am sure. Due to the evening Port of Call, there was no show that night, but it was Mediterranean Night or – yes, we’ve all learned some Italian during this week – Notte Medierranea!

 

In the lounges on deck 3 and 5, five nations (Greece, Spain, France and Egypt & Turkey) presented some activities, which repeated every 30 minutes, starting at 10:00 PM. Greece had the Syrtaki dance, France a Can Can performance, Spain the Paso Doble, Egypt the Camel Races and Turkey had some Belly Dancers!

 

Following the activities, a midnight buffet was featured in each country, with specialties from each of the above mentioned countries… Yummy!!! If you thought you won’t be able to eat at midnight… think again… see for yourself! ;-)

 

At around 1:30 AM we left San Juan and set sail for St. Thomas…

 

 

DAY 4 – JANUARY 11, 2006 (ST. THOMAS)

We arrived on time in St. Thomas and had a day full of excitement ahead of us. This was and is still my favorite stop on the Eastern route itinerary with Costa as you can enjoy the entire day in port. We made arrangements for a rental car, or better say Jeep, ahead of times and booked it online directly from Budget. Their office is located directly across the main street, right across from the cruise ship pier in Heavensight. So with snorkel and beach gear packed, we headed off the boat at around 8:15 AM. We picked up our vehicle as booked from Budget and off we were…

 

If you plan of renting a car, make sure to make reservations ahead of time, as vehicles will book out quickly (especially if you have 4 cruise ships in town). Also, keep in mind, that they drive on the LEFT, even though it’s a U.S. territory. The roads are sometimes narrow, windy and sharp turns… so drive with care on St. Thomas and look out for donkeys and other wild life, which may surprise you in the middle of the road.

 

After an extensive island tour (up and down, and up and down…), we decided to head to Coki Beach, which is said to be the most beautiful place to snorkel on St. Thomas. As we pulled in, a local (sorry, forgot his name) gave us some advise where to park and gave us some hints about beach chair rentals, etc.

 

We parked our Jeep, and he guided us right down to the beach, where we rented some chairs ($ 5/each) and one additional set of snorkel gear for our teens. He also provided us with some dog biscuits for the fish… Huh???

On with the snorkel gear and off in the water and if you hold your biscuit or break it up… the fish will sure come… they will surround you, and nibble on the biscuit right in your hand. Bring an underwater disposable camera for some really wonderful and exotic shots!

 

After some shopping in downtown we brought back our Jeep and headed back for the ship!

 

We departed St. Thomas (after docking back again) shortly after our scheduled time… Apparently one of our cruise passengers did not change her watch and (almost) missed the ship. The captain was so kind and bring the Magica back to the pier to get her on… what a sight and sound, while people were either cheering, booing or otherwise commenting the maneuver… The funny thing was:

They announced her name at least 6 times of the PA system… so everybody knew her name and cabin number… Ooops! Better change your watch next time, Mrs. Mary Moore from cabin 2224! ;-)

 

So with all aboard, it was time to set sail for Catalina Island, Domincan Republic.

 

That night was Italian night, casual attire, but it was encouraged to wear the national colors of Italy (Red, White & Green). There were some great entertaining performances in the dining room by the wait staff, so don’t miss that night and pay attention to the balcony in the Ristorante Smeralda…

 

This is a neat treat and another episode of “Cruise Ships Gone Wild”… LOL ;-)

 

We missed the evening show with singer Edmondo Rahme, but we heard mixed reviews about the show. A true hit though (and a don’t miss), is the Newlywed and Not So Newlywed Game, which took place at 11:15 PM in the main theatre.

You sure will not be disappointed by the fun and laughs, four couples will create for you… hilarious and funny!!! Give it uuup ahhhh, Max!

 

 

DAY 5 – JANUARY 12, 2006 (CATALINA ISLAND/CASA DE CAMPO)

We took it easy and got up a little later than usual, had a leisurely breakfast at the buffet before going ashore and boarding the tender to the beach. There was no line or wait for the tender, just hopped on board and off we were. This stop also offers excellent photo or video opportunities of the Magica, as she will be anchored off shore and you’ll have her sitting off the beach. So bring your cameras! Once on shore, we proceeded along the wooden broadwalk. As the beach was already quite full, we welcomed the help of one of the locals to arrange for some beach chairs. We selected a spot and he provided us with the chairs. Even though the chairs are for free (there are signs everwhere: BEACH CHAIRS ARE FREE), we only found it appropriate to give a tip. The Magica staff is working hard that day. Not only are they providing a wonderful BBQ, but also have a full bar service available while you enjoying the beach. Costa must have changed also the rules for the local vendors, which you’ll find about midway down the boardwalk. Before, whenever you walked by, they were glued to you, trying to sell you their goods. This time, they were calm, not pesky, which made the whole Catalina Island experience even more pleasurable. A wonderful beach, great BBQ and good drinks… (Thanks again, Angela!)

 

Back on the ship we sailed for Casa de Campo, a short distance from Catalina Island. A lot of passengers went on shore to see the Kandela Show. We decided to stay put and enjoy another great evening on board of the Magica. The dining room was again, calmer than usual and dinner service was extremely fast. That night was Tropical Night and the show for the night was the “Fantasy Show”, another great entertainment mix of music, dance and mystery. Another awesome performance and show… so “Give it uuuup ahhhhh!”

 

Later that night there was a huge Tropical Party going on at the pool deck, with dance, music, and midnight buffet! Also a nice demonstration by the talents which create all those beautiful ice carvings! Wow!

 

 

DAY 6 – JANUARY 13, 2006 (AT SEA)

After departing La Romana on time and heading towards Nassau, Bahamas, it seemed that we might even arrive a little early in Nassau. Estimates put us in port at about 11:15 AM instead of 1:00 PM, but that would be tomorrow. Until then, one final day at sea to enjoy the Magica. At 10:15, Max conducted a Debarkation Information Talk for passengers interested in more details about the disembarkation on Sunday. If you don’t want to attend this meeting or have other things planned… don’t worry, it will be shown again on your onboard TV channel…

 

After another day full of spa treatments, casino visits, drinks and … of course food, we enjoyed our second Formal Night, the Farewell Gala Dinner. Our seating was set for 8:45 PM, followed by a late night show “CINEMAGIQUE”. Great dances, songs and music, all about and around the world of movies.

 

This was also the day of the long expected grand midnight buffet, the Buffet Magnifico… As the Magica has two main dining rooms, this is done a little bit different than on the Mediterranea or the Atlantica. You will enter the Portofino Restaurant on Deck 3 (midship), where you can enjoy all the food art creations, including ice carvings, cheese carvings, bread villages (even with working light house), veggie and fruit characters, etc… After that you will enter the galley of the Magica and visit the kitchen facilities… While being in the kitchen, you’ll find all the goodies, sweets and treats and exit the kitchen in the Smeralda Restaurant on Deck 3, where you have a chance to sit down and enjoy your late night treat.

 

After that a bed, soft pillows and a good night sleep sounded awefully good!

 

 

DAY 7 – JANUARY 14, 2006 (NASSAU, PLANNED)

During the night to Saturday, the sea turned once again wild and bumpy. And even windier than Day 2. With winds topping up to 124 km/h (as per onboard instruments), the Atlantic Ocean was topped with white caps, large waves and heavy gusts. You found a layer of salt pretty much on everything on the ship. Unfortunately, after being delayed already as a result of the raging weather, Captain Russo announced that due to inclement weather conditions other cruise lines have already cancelled the Port of Call of Nassau. He decided however, to stick around for a bit, proceed with slow speed and hope for improving weather conditions. But, about 45 minutes later, he announced for sure what we have guessed already, that Nassau is being cancelled, due to the safety risk while navigating into port… (it is kind of an narrow entrance, and – safety first!).

Even though we were unable to complete our desired shopping tasks we made the best of the day and enjoyed the ship, attended the additional activities Costa put together for this situation and had fun. After all, the Magica is a beautiful ship.

Dinner time was 8:30 PM again, but this time with a twist… TOGA, TOGA, TOGA!

That’s right, it was Roman Night… so everybody was encouraged to wear togas for dinner and for the Roman Night Show following afterwards. Our section and tables had a blast and pretty much everybody was dressed in their toga. I brought my own toga with golden leafs and royal red throw… quite a picture.

The Roman Night Show (a/k/a Guest Talent Show) took place at 10:45 PM and we had a great pleasure to be part of it… Wow! Quite some talented passengers on board… hat’s off!

 

After that, it was time to get packed, the luggage out in the hallway before 1:00 AM… The luggage personnel was extremely efficient. Our luggage was not sitting no more than 10 minutes outside the cabin door and it was gone already. Great job! A last and final round of Black Jack concluded this day and… ultimately the cruise.

 

DAY 8 – JANUARY 15, 2006 (DISEMBARKATION)

Coming into port early (don’t know exactly what time… I was sound asleep) we docked smoothly back into Port Everglades. We packed our carry-ons and went to breakfast at our scheduled time. We had a great final meal and afterwards proceeded to the VIP lounge for suite passengers, the Club Vincenza, just to find out, that our color “WHITE” had already been called before… so wing hung out for a few more minutes until we finally proceeded to Deck 3 to disembark. We strolled off the ship with no wait, hassle or chaos, which nowhere was found. Everybody seems to be in an extremely orderly and organized way. Once off the ship, we checked through immigration and collected our luggage, which was waiting in the area assigned to our luggage tag color. There was no wait at customs at all and we proceeded to the curb. We were off the ship literally with minutes, with luggage in our possession and ready to head home. This was truly the fastest and most efficient disembarkation I have ever experienced. We were off the ship and through customs and immigration within minutes.

 

The only disappointing thing is… we had to leave the Magica today. :-(

 

 

 

A FEW MORE THINGS…

 

NEGATIVES:

Even though there are only very minor things I would considered to be negative, I still want to be fair and mention them:

 

- ITINERARY:

The Eastern Itinerary has some beautiful port of calls (St. Thomas, Catalina Island, Bahamas), but only very limited full day stops. San Juan is beautiful and I would really like to experience some more of this city and the surrounding area, but with a scheduled arrival time of 5:00 PM, there is little things to do. Although Catalina Island is beautiful, La Romana would be a stop I would like to see to disappear off the itinerary. Unless you attend the Kandela Show, there is little to do, and the ship is docked as it looks like in an industrial area.

 

- CASINO:

Maybe it’s only optical illusion, but the Casino on the Magica looks and feels smaller than the Casino’s on the Atlantica and Mediterranea, which are smaller ships than the Magica. The Magica features 172 slot machines, but only very limited tables, such as Black Jack, Three Card Poker, etc. That’s the only complaint about the Magica... the casino should have been designed accordingly to the size of the ship, not smaller. More passengers, more players, more players, more table or gambling opportunities… would just make sense, right?

 

 

POSITIVES:

All right, done with the negatives, now to the positives… But wait, where should I start on this list? This would be mega list of items I could mention here, but I’ll make it short an reflect only the highlights:

 

- FOOD:

As previously experienced on board of the Atlantica and the Mediterranea, Costa and the Magica chefs do not disappoint when it comes down to food. No matter if breakfast, lunch or dinner, the Costa deserves a 5-star rating on this. The food is tastefully prepared, with plenty of delicious flavoring, and lots of use of original Italian ingredients. The dishes are appealing (also to the eyes) and delicious!

 

 

You will find a different Italian region featured every day, such as Sicilia, Campania, Lombardia, Piemonte, etc. With this region, the chefs prepared a recommended menu from this region. But of course that is not all. You always have an “alternative” menu, featuring a choice between at least three appetizers, soups, salads, pastas, entrees and desserts. A few dishes are also ALWAYS and every day available, including Caesar Salad, Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce, Spaghetti tossed with Italian meat balls and fresh tomato basil sauce, Fillet of Salmon (prepared as of your choice), Chicken Breast or sides, such as Baked Potato, French Fries or Fresh Steamed Veggies.

 

Costa is offering an Italian dining experience, sometimes with very unique or unusual ingredients (how about a Octopus Carpaccio? Yummy!!!). Some people though may expect a more “Americanized” style, but if you are open minded and especially if you have traveled abroad before, you will enjoy and value the dining experience.

 

- STAFF:

The entire staff of the Magica, not matter what rank or position, is helpful, friendly and will go out of their way to make things right for you. No matter what position, from cleaning personnel, to maintenance staff, once you encounter them, we heard a friendly “Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon” or “Good Evening”. In previous threads some people mentioned a language barrier… which does not really exist. Almost all staff members we encountered spoke English very well, some of course with an accent. But if 72 nationalities are on board representing the staff, this is not surprising, but furthermore extremely welcome in my opinion. Everybody will understand your needs, so don’t hesitate to ask. But also, don’t be afraid that nobody will speak English… that is simply not the case!

Costa well done!

I could go on and on and on about the positives, but I probably would use up all the space and memory of CC… (just kidding!) J

 

 

 

 

MY OPINION, RATINGS & CONCLUSION:

 

ITINERARY: 6.5

SHIP: 9.9

FOOD: 10+++

CABIN: 10

PUBLIC AREAS: 10

ENTERTAINMENT: 10

 

 

CONCLUSION:

The Magica is a beautifully appointed and designed ship, tastefully completed with a stylish interior. Sometimes it seems a bit challenging to navigate on different decks, unlike her sister ships Mediterranea and Atlantica. A cruise on the Magica is well worth the money and I would not hesitate a second to book another Costa cruise on the Magica again!

 

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Finally, I would like to take the opportunity to say a few Special Thanks to extremely hard working staff members. I know that also a lot of cruise staff is visiting this site, so they should be recognized for their outstanding performance:

 

Rafaello (Maitre’D): Thank you for your outstanding services! We hope to see you again!

 

Angela Santos: You are one wonderful person! Thanks for everything and keep your beautiful smile… We’ll see each other again soon… hopefully!

 

Mariano Morales: You did a fabulous job! We were glad to have YOU as our waiter and can’t wait to see you again next time we board a Costa ship!

 

Luis: Also, you helped Mariano to make our dining experience complete! Great service and always attentive! Keep up the great work!

 

Dory: You handled all of our Spa needs so well, scheduled appointments and made things so enjoyable… Thank you for a wonderful week!

 

Max: We had a lot of fun with you during the week! You are doing a great job as Cruise Director, I can just imagine what a job that is! Give it uuuup ahhhhhh!!!!

Well done… we hope to see you again on our next Costa cruise!

 

And finally a HUGE APPLAUSE and SINCERE THANK YOU to all Costa Magica staff members, working so hard behind the scene. Thanks to every one of you who work so hard and diligent to make one’s cruise a happy and enjoyable vacation to remember. Thank you to all the chefs and kitchen staff for an outstanding job in preparing the wonderful Italian food… even though I need to go on a diet now, as I gained so many pounds during this week!

 

 

There is no doubt that we will be back very soon on a Costa ship near you, to experience even more “Cruising Italian Style”. I just can’t wait to get on board again, even though we just left the ship one day ago.

 

Way to go Costa… keep up the excellent work!!! We’ll be back!

 

GRAZIE & CIAO,

 

 

 

Andy

 

 

P.S.:

If I forgot to mention any specifics here, please feel free to contact me at PPPOWER96@aol.com… I’ll be more than happy to answer your questions!

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Thanks for the review Andy. I appreciate the time and energy you put into such a detailed review.

 

Bravo!

 

Happy Cruising:)

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Andy glad to have you back. Good review and it just makes it harder for us to wait till 2006/03/05. Happy to hear that some of the staff from The Med and The Atlantica are on The Magica. Did not dought at all that the food was going to be up to par. Followed your cruise daily thanks to the Costa Web Cams and I did see that the day you were due in Naussau mother nature did not co-operate. Am already looking into Costa's new ship Concordia for 2007.

P.S. Hi there Snowblind will be waiting for your review as well and do not Toga to hard.

 

TOGA! TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!

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Thank you snowblind, Thank you mtl!

 

Yeah, even though Nassau is beautiful, they did not want to risk anything, which I totally agree with. It's not worth damaging the ship or bringing the passengers at risk, as Nassaus port entrance is rather narrow.

 

We still had a great time and gave us some more time to enjoy the beautiful Magica... You definately have something to look forward to!!!

 

And thank you for welcoming me back so warmly... (makes it easier to go back to work now!)...

 

Andy ;-)

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Thanks for the review. This is my first post on this site, though a very multiple time cruiser. I'll be on the Magica 3/26/06 and have been worried after reading so many horrible reviews. Nice to have an educated review.

 

I do have a question regarding cabins. I found out after I booked that my assigned cabin is an aft veranda directly above the Capri lounge. Is that going to be a problem?

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Andy great review. We too were on this cruise and although not in a suite we did have a balcony. Everything you said could not be truer about the friendly staff and wonderful food. We got to the port around 11:45 and we were on the ship by 12:15. We had an infant with us and the staff sent us through the VIP line so we would not have to wait. Thumbs up to Costa for that. We have been on many cruises with infants and have always waited in line. We had an early flight and we were off the ship, collected our luggage, thru customs and at the airport by 9:00. Wow you cannot beat that. All the negative reviews had me worried because it had been quite a few years since our last Costa cruise, but they were for no reason. I would certainly cruise Costa again in a heartbeat. Hope everyone cruising the Magica in the future will put their worries to rest and have fun cruising "Italian Style".

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Mtl Kid, My family & I (from California) will be on the March 5 cruise also. Joining us will be my husband's brother & his family - - - from Montreal. What a coincidence! I hear you're having some very cold weather there today. Bet you're really looking forward to March!

 

Andy, thanks so much for your review. I really enjoyed reading it! You've covered everything I was curious about & I'm now certain we'll enjoy our cruise.

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What great news. Any teenagers amongst your group. We have a nasty cold spell in Montreal right now -15 degrees celcius. When is your family from Montreal leaving for Florida. We will leave March 3 and rest for 2 days in Florida....hope we couild all meet. We have the 2nd dinner seating. Our group has 5 teenagers ranging from 13 to 16 boys and girls...TOGA TOGA!

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Mtl, my boys are 8 & 5, but my niece (from Montreal) just turned 18. We have the 2nd seating for dinner as well. (Works well for us, coming from California, with the time difference.)

 

We are not arriving until the night before the cruise. I believe our family from Montreal is arriving the day prior to that, but I'm not certain.

 

We're all looking forward to a great cruise, especially after reading the most recent reviews!

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Thanks a lot Cruise4Andy. Though I do not know you, have never and will never meet you, I was anxiously looking forward to your reveiw. You did not disappoint those of us who were looking forward to a positive review.

 

Having only cruised (4 times previously) in the bowels of the ship, I wonder how much of the superior service/amenities you were given were the result of your booking a suite?

 

I have a room with a balcony this time and do suspect that there will be some difference, but how much of your great experience a result of the money you spent? Maybe I should just upgrade and not worry about it.

 

The day by day synopsis was enjoyable to read. I grew sadder after reading each day's passage because I know from past experience that as each day passes, the end of the voyage (vacation) comes that much closer...and 51 weeks is an awefully long time to have to wait for the next vacation.

 

Thanks again.

 

Oh, one thing I wanted to ask. As a non-smoker, is smoking allowed in the rooms? If so, did they have the nasty, stale cigarette smell to them?

 

Enjoyed the review. Look forward to posting my own in a couple of month.

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Merci beaucoup Andy

 

Now I am longing to my Atlantic crossing much more( only I am on the Mediterranea.)

I know for sure there are coming 16 wonderful days/nights for me!

Hope to hear more from you.

Till then sleep tight with a lot of happy dreams !

Don't you like to enter the Med. in april ?

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Andy:

 

Memo to self---- BOOK A SUITE in the future. Sounds like you even get different beds than the rest of the ship, as you described them as soft and comfy.... Also, what did you think of the buffetts during the day i.e. for lunch, and the pizza....?? Honestly and truly the pizza - what did you think?

 

I;m glad you had a great time, sounds like maybe the ship was less crowded than on the holiday cruisings and they were able to do more, you had more shows it sounds like... too bad you missed Kandela- but you've seen it before right? I agree with you on itinerary, it seems like you are stuck on the ship an awful lot - even in reading your review.... no port do you get much time in but St. Thomas....

 

Anyways, I am glad you enjoyed, I am trying to get over our experience and open my mind some more.... Lots more on your midnight buffets too--- and pasta stations at the buffet --- definately didnt have that on our cruise. And the credit card thing in the theater, they didn't do that for us, we were all crammed on a small library looking room that took forever... so I guess they may be still tweaking things--- sounds like you got right in through the Port Authority too--- much smoother than the 26th of December. Anyways, I'm glad to hear they are making some changes....

 

Anyways, congrats on a great cruise.... Culd you share the dishes that you enjoyed, the flavior and quality of the fod, or just a lot??? Just curious....

 

 

Thanks,

 

MARC

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Andy,

 

After reading your review of the January 8th Costa Magica cruise, I am not going to struggle to type my own review since I pretty much agreed with all you wrote with the exception of the ship being steady during the high winds. I booked on the cheap and settled for an 2nd deck outside cabin with a window in what I thought was the front right side of the ship. What I got was a cabin in the very rear of the ship where I could look down and see the churning of the water by the propellers. The rear of the ship was not steady; the ship swayed back and forth during the entire cruise. My wife and I joked that you have the "drunk' feeling without having to pay for drink! The cabin vibrated all day and all night long. Now, I guess you get what you pay for and I didn't let it ruin my cruise. I learned that next time, I will book a balcony cabin on one of the upper decks like I had on the Costa Altantica in February. Other than that, the cruise was a bargain and we had a great time. I can't wait for my next Costa cruise.

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Thank you all... I am always glad to report back in details, as this might help to answer questions other cruisers (or future cruisers) may have.

 

Thanks for welcoming us back!

 

Fotoguy: Never say never, we might meet at one of the future cruises - the world seems awefully small sometimes... so you never know! ;-)

 

mtl: Our teenagers (both 14) also enjoyed the cruise a lot and made lots of new friends from all over the United States. They had a blast!

 

Marc: Thanks for your welcoming words... I will be more than happy to reply to your questions. I honestly thought that the lunch buffet was delicious and due to the changing theme every day, there was plenty to choose from and a wide variety of food. From seafood (calamari, sea bass, Italian Seafood salad, etc.) to pork (pork roast at the carving station), to beef (beef medallions in mushroom sauce), to pizza from the pizzeria! I honestly felt that everything was extremely well prepared and very appealing not only to the taste buds, but also to the eyes. They featured some very well prepared pastas as well (chaning daily, 2 per day), which ALWAYS were al dente, never soggy or mushy. Linguine with creamy clam sauce, Rigatoni with fresh basil tomato lamb ragu to mention only a couple of selections. Also the salads on the buffet were always fresh, crisp and a great selection, such as Bean Salad, Greek Salad, Seafood Salad, Insalata Caprese, etc....

 

The pizza from the pizzeria was always fresh, crunchy crust and prepared the Italian style (thinner crust than the American way), hand tossed. They were usually at least two varieties, a cheese pizza and a second choice, such as ham (and they use prosciutto ham! Yummy!). But if you asked the pizzeria attendent, they would also prepare a special pie or half of it.

 

While I was asking a crew member one day, they said that roughly 3300 people were sailing this week and the ship was pretty much full. So I don't know where the people were, but it really and honestly never felt crowded or overroaming to me. Not even on the sun decks, where they had piles of deck chairs in reserve, not even set up.

 

In regards of the beds. Our teens slept on the sofa, which converted into a full size (looked like queen size) bed. While the matress was not overly thick, it was still quite comfortable (I tried it once). Our bed (the main bed) was also not overly soft (and belive me, we have a water bed at home) and I usually prefer more softer sleeping arrangments. But the bed or matress never bothered me once and I slept extremely well. The pillows were also extremely comfy and soft.

 

Marc, I will post a list of the dishes we had in the dining room here at this thread tomorrow... (The poster - me - will NOT be responsible for any appetite, mouth watering or hunger feelings this may cause! LOL)... I may get hungry myself, by just typing it...

 

cronestein... If I would have time and a choice for April... COUNT ME IN!!!!

I would not hesitate a second to go back on the Mediterranea either...

 

fotoguy... Well although we spent more than on an inside cabin, I still thought that our suite was a great value for the money, considering that we occupied our room with 4 persons. There was plenty of room to move around and you never had the feeling that you were cramped in the cabin like sardines in a tin. Even with the sofa bed converted for the night, there was plenty of room to sit, enjoy a drink or move around and get changed for dinner. Would I book a GS cagtegory again... no question!

 

The only sad part on the Magica is, that they got away with the aft Grand Suites and completely eliminated the Panorama Suite category, which you find on the Atlantica and the Mediterranea. The aft-balcony on the Mediterranea and Atlantica are outstanding and not comparable with everyting, as they are huge, roomy and offer outstanding views! So balcony wise (size and layout), I would prefer the PS or GS in the aft of the other ships.

 

For all who will go on the Magica or Mediterranea or Atlantica... would you like to adopt me??? LOL... Can't wait to board again!

 

I hope everybody will enjoy their cruise as much as we did! And with the many staff members we already knew from the other ships... it really felt like coming back to a family reunion!

 

Ciao.... (Give it uuuuup ahhhh!)

 

Andy

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Welcome back, Andy! I've been thinking about you all week, and I've been checking for your feedback since last night. I couldn't wait to hear from you. Everything sounds absolutely fantastic, and now I'm more excited than ever for Spring break. Thanks so much for the wonderful review. It gave so many helpful ideas, and I really appreciate it.

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Hello, We Just Returned From Costa Magica 1/8/06 Cruise And I Am Not Very Happy. We Had No Problem Getting On Or Off, Everything Else Was Soso. We Paid Extra For An Balcony Cabin At The Rear Of The Ship, On Most Days Could Not Use The Balcony Because Of Oily Soot From The Smoke Stack. The Stuart Tried His Best By Covering Chairs With Towels, But Soot Was Back Every Morning. We Complained But Were Told Too Bad. Once During The Week All The Balconies Were Cleaned, But Next Morning Soot Was Back. The Itinnery Was Really Bad And Misleading, If You Did Not Book Any Tours, You Were Out Of Luck. Partly It's Our Fault, We Checked The Ports, But Not The Ridiculous Times Of Arrival, Puerto Rico From 6.00pm To 1;30 Am. No Sightseeing Fun At Night. Same At Island La Romano 6:00pm To 12:00 Pm, Only Able To Visit With Tour.

At Nassau We Were Unable To Land Because Of Strong Wind, Not The Ship,s Fault. All In All It Was Our Cruise To Nowhere. It Was Our Tenth Cruise Including One On The Other Italian Line Msc "lirica", Which Was Wonderful. I Don't Think We Will Ever Cruise Costa Again.

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Hey Ortrud! Welcome back as well... I am sure we met somewhere on the ship without knowing...

 

Sorry to hear that you did not have a great time... I agree with you, that the itinerary should be changed... I put that down on Costa's comment form as well. San Juan would be a wonderful Port of Call, if there would be plenty of time and if it would be a full day stop. It took forever to clear the ship with the local authorities, which delayed the whole schedule even more, but we can't blame Costa on that part.

 

I know the Bahamas was somehow a bummer, but if there's one thing nobody can control, than it's the weather... oh well - next time!

 

I certainly hope you enjoyed the other aspects of your cruise and still hope to meet you someday on board of some ship...

 

Glad you had a safe trip home...

 

Andy

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Jahla Jahla,

 

I was in Cabin 2449. Not where I was told by the independent cruise booking company...don't know really where the problem orginated. In any case, it was not really too much of a problem; we were not uncomfortable for most of the cruise. Considering all the strong winds, there really weren't too many areas on the ship where it wasn't swaying. It was all Mother Natures fault!!!!

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Wow Andy, your review made me go "wow". Sounds like you had an excellent time and thanks for sharing all your positive (and little negatives!!) with us.

 

We are going on the Costa Fortuna on 25th March for the Mediterranean Odyssey cruise. Whats more we will witness the eclipse in the Med on 29th March. For those who don't know, Fortuna and Magica are sister ships so I am sure there will be lots and lots of wows when we embark.

We have only done two cruises before, both times on British ships. The ship we were on - Thomson Spirit, was actually berthed next to the Fortuna in Naples and the Fortuna made the Spirit look like a little rowing boat!!

 

I have to admit when I first came to these boards after booking our Costa cruise, and read some of the reviews I though Oh my god what have we done. I have totally moved from those thoughts now thanks to yours and the other many positive reviews. I too will post a review when we return in April.

 

Thank you

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Andy: Glad you got back safe. Did your teens run in to my granddaughter, Kara. She had a great time with the teen group. The ones I met seemed like a real great bunch of kids and they were all enjoying themselves.

 

Richard

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Thanks rps... I am sure they met at the teen group... my daughter in particular was all excited about the group, the friends she made and the activities they did... they had a blast in the teen disco... So I'm sure they met!...

 

sugarbabe:

We really enjoyed the week long on board of the Magica! Another great Costa experience, and the Magica sure does not disappoint. I hope you'll have an equally exciting and wonderful experience on the Fortuna... Please don't forget to tell us all the details upon your return... we look forward to your review!

 

Andy

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Andy: Since we are all discussing the 1/8 sailing on your thread, I am moving my brief overview from last night over to your thread. See below. We, too, had a great time and would definitely do Costa again. My granddaughter says I may have met your daughter. If she is the girl I met, you have a lovely kid.

 

Here is my earlier brief review:

 

Just returned from the 1/8 sailing of the Magica. NYC suburbs are in the teens tonight, so nice "welcome home".

 

Will wait to post more detailed review, but had a great time and found the ship to be delightful, as did the two sets of friends we sailed with. Given the strong feelings good and bad that have surrounded the Magica on these boards, I can only assume that Costa is trying to work out the kinks, and/or that different folks will take away different viewpoints from any particular situation.

 

So, here are some quick tidbits:

 

Embarkation was under an hour (we got there shortly after 11 and were on board by right after 12). I did not hear of any horror stories for later arrivals.

 

Getting off of the ship was even quicker. I timed it and was shocked = 22 minutes flat. We were in the theater for an 8:15 call, punched our card and walked off the ship at 8:18 and were through immigration and customs and on the curb at 8:37. I was dumbfounded. We had scheduled a 10 AM van pickup for the 7 of us and had to call to get someone there earlier. The lines never backed up, found the luggage right away, porter was right there and we just moved out to daylight.

 

Buffet needs some work. Not very imaginative and not open as often as were those on the other cruises we took. And yes, there were powdered eggs - I am an expert at spotting them having lived on them all through college. But, there were several omelette stations with real eggs that would also cook them for you any way you wanted them. One of my buddies had thre eggs over easy every morning. On the whole the buffet was not terrible.

 

Dining room experience was fine. Food was good cruise food - service was top notch. More on this later.

 

Ship's public spaces were comfortable and plentiful. Lots of stuff going on all over the ship and no crowding, even though ship was sold out. My wife was able to hot tub and pool. We always found deck chairs - there were always places to sit and have a drink. Very pleasant.

 

My 15 year old granddaughter took part in many of the teen activities and was happy with them. She had a midnight curfew and that worked out fine. Perhaps because of the tragedy the week before and the public comment on the threads, there appeared to be more supervision. There were no drunk teens that I saw and the casino was kept clean of them as well. But, remember, school is back in and there were not an over abundance of children.

 

Age group was mixed and slanted towards the55+ year old set.

 

Ship is absolutely stunning and easy to get around on.

 

Ship and crew are Italian. Like taking a cruise in the Caribbean and a vacation in Italy at the same time. We loved it, but it may not appeal to all.

 

There were a signiificant number of Italians on the ship. Not a majority, but a significant number. Europeans and Americans do have some cultural differences and that can lead to issues - or make for a charming encounter. Different folks will have different takes on this. My wife and I were having breakfast on the second level buffet. Outside the window on the sun deck, a middle aged Italian gentlemen took off his pants and underpants and bent over to retrieve his bathing suit. He stayed in that position for a bit and then proceeded to put it on. There were people on either side of him, but he didn't seem to mind. Some of the younger Italian woman did go topless on the visit to Costa's private beach. Some of the Americans clucked and others - mostly us older guys - just admired the view. Not sure what the reaction of parents with kids would be.

 

The main theater is very large, with ample seating and cutting edge technology. The shows were at the high end of cruise entertainment - but remember Simon Cowell's line on American Idol - " You aren't even good enough to sing on a cruise ship".

 

Catalina Island was excellent. Very nicely done. Compares favorably with Princess Cays, IMO.

 

For all of you hockey fans - Scotty Bowman was on board.

 

All in all, we all gave it an 8.5 out of 10. Had an absolutely fabulous time.

 

Glad to answer any questions you may have.

 

Richard

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Andy , thank you for your review.

If we do not book our excursions before we board can we book it on the ship with out them selling out? Especially the Light show at the La Romana?

Did you have karaokee?

In another thread it was said that the disco was filled with teens til 1:00 am , is that true?

I thought late seating was 8:00 it is 8:45?

 

Thanks

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My daughter hung out with the teen group as well. Does this sound familiar..... A Shirley Temple with a little bit of ice and extra cherries, my daughter, Amber, said Kara would order that all the time, so they all knew what she wanted! My daughter was one of the culprits in the disco until 1 am!

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