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iloveglee

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I am looking for advice from anyone who has been on a Costa Cruise since they brought in this new pricing structure.  We have just about worked out how it works, with difficulty, and have booked a cruise for June.  We have had to book a premium cabin, just so that we can link our booking to the people we are travelling with, so we can dine together.  It's a total pain but we have had to do this before so we just lived with it.  Now of course, there is a drink package attached to certain grades of cabin, which is fine if you happen to like the package but a bit more complicated if you don't.  

 

We have the brindiamo attached to our cabin, but we like the piu gusto for the cocktails, at least two of us do.  We were told you can upgrade to  this package, which doesn't cost much, but they tell us that if we're travelling with someone else, even though we have two separate bookings, we all have to have it.  Which is ridiculous, when we can only have two cocktails per round anyway.  The young lady at Costa said to just do it on board, and then you don't have to tell them you're together!!  What I really want to to know is, how long can you be on board for before you have to get your drink package.  I seem to think, when you didn't have one attached to your cabin you had a couple of days to decide after you board.  Since it has all changed, and we haven't travelled with them since these changes, not at all sure how things work now.   I'd like to know what their cocktails are these days  before I commit to paying extra for the privilege.  

 

I'm sure there will be someone out there who does know!!

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Hi,

Firstly the whole party should have the same drinks package, they will know who you are sailing with and stop the whole party's packages should they find out you have purchased a higher package.This would apply even with separate bookings if they decide you are together

This is purely down to past passengers miss-using the card and spoiling it for others.

So your best bet is to either be honest when trying to up-grade or work out how much extra the cocktails would be per day as most packages allow you to pay the extra, or at least I know that our Intendore package allow us to purchase diffent wines at half price.

The latest tech shows your photo at the tills & who is in the party.

Hope this helps a bit but I would certainly ask once on board as occasionally rules are not the same on board as in H.O.

 

 

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I can certainly understand that two people in the same cabin need to have to have the same package, as the potential for cheating is large there.  But when you are in two separate cabins?  From my understanding, the cabin card they give you is different depending upon what package you have, so it would be difficult to order 4 cocktails, with only two cards that allow it.

 

I didn't realise that they may let you just pay the extra if having a cocktail.  For us, it might be worth doing that.  Two of us do like a cocktail now and again, but maybe not enough to warrant paying to upgrade the package.  We'll have to make some enquiries when on board.  I presume we will have a day or so to make  a decision.  At least, that's how it used to be if you hadn't already bought a drink package, you had to have bought it before day 3 on a 7 day cruise.  But knowing Costa, they seem to change their rules like other people change their socks so who knows. 

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The Intenditore beverage package must be booked by all guests with the same booking number and/or travelling in the same cabin.

 

this is what it say on my booking from yesterday. It say nothing that others you travel with need the same package unless you have the same booking number. It is my first time with Costa so dont know other than what it say on their web page

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Everyone in the whole party has to have the same package (how they know I have no idea) even if in a different grade of cabin and booked separately. How ever now if you order more than one drink they often ask to see the other cards until they know the party.

When buying a drink or two the cruise cards show the persons photo, when they first came out in 2009 just one guest could have the package, it was abused by many guests , again guests were buying others drinks, I have seen people going to a bar ordering four drinks and the waiter asking for all cards to scan, and when they could not produce them all the package was taken away from those guests that  had the package.

 

Although we are long time Costa lovers with over 300 days with them, the latest rules & even these packages leave a lot to be desired, as it is very hard for us to find out what we can request & ships seem to have different ideas on the rules.

My suggestion is ask for anything you want you may even get it if waiters like you.

Edited by tenpin
spellings

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Yes it does seem a bit strange.  Our experience has been that they ask for all 4 cards when a round of drinks is ordered , so they would be able to tell who had which package, and it would be difficult to get drinks for someone else.   I think they can tell you are together by the dining room table number, normally you aren't necessarily on the same table unless you have linked your bookings.

 

Personally I think they have deliberately attached a less favourable package to the cabin in order to get you to upgrade.  The intenditore, which allows just about anything is attached to the more expensive cabins, which we didn't want.  Frankly we don't spend enough time in it to warrant the extra price.  All the cruise lines are at it nowadays, trying to extract every last penny from you.

 

I think we will have to see how the land lies when we get on board.  If it is possible just to pay a bit extra to have a cocktail, it may pay us to do that.  We don't actually drink that many as it goes, personally I find the acidity of the mixers they use in some of them doesn't suit me.  I'd still appreciate it though if anyone has had the same situation we are in.  

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For anyone who comes on here, I have been in touch with costa regarding this subject.  Yes it is definite that anyone travelling together, dining together, whether there are 4 or 40 of you, if you wish to upgrade your drink package from that which is included in your cabin, all have to buy it.  So it does then start to beg the question, is it worth it just to pay the extra between that drink included, and a cocktail.   Our party is 4, one would probably have a few cocktails, one may do and two won't.  At a cost of £88 for the 4 of us, and a rough price of £2-3 per cocktail, may not be worth buying the upgrade.

 

 

 

 

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I think you might find the cocktails are more expensive than that. I have a really old bar menu for example a Hugo Sprits is €7.45; a Mojito €8.45 and a margarita €8.45. Then you still have the service charge on top. I think if you prebook your upgraded drinks package it is included but not sure about that.

 

I cannot remember when I pinched this one but not recently.

 

Riana

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I paid to have a Cosmopolitan on my last cruise, being on Brindiamo package.

it was not worth the money as it tasted so sweet and sherbety.  

Our friends always used to upgrade to the cocktail package as they really like cocktails, but even they went off them as they find them too sickly.

what puts me off is seeing the cocktails made begins the bar - slop coming out of plastic containers.

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Yes the cocktails are expensive, if paying full price for them, I probably explained badly what Costa told me.  From what they said, I have understood  that, if we have the brindiamo package, a spirit drink costs approximately 2 or 3 euros less than a cocktail,  this is if you were buying them at full price,  without benefit of  any package at all.  So to have a cocktail on the brindiamo package means paying the extra 2 or 3 euros, rather than having to pay the full price.  No doubt we shall see how the land lies here when we are on board.  

 

As far as the actual quality of the cocktails is concerned, I do take the point.  They are made from a mixer in a bottle, I think they even call it mixy, and they are nowhere near how a proper cocktail is made.  This is why I, who actually like cocktails, am a bit reluctant to upgrade the package.  I do find some of them a bit sweet and sickly, which I can live with, but the majority of them have some kind of lime/lemon added which I find hard to tolerate.  

 

Our  choice usually is not to travel with Costa these days, especially since this new pricing structure has come into being.  Our last experience was not very good, serious shortage of staff and some of the bar staff were verging on grumpy.  Very little personal engagement with you and reluctance to come over to the table and serve you.  The dining staff, on the contrary were magnificent as always.  The main reason for travelling with them this time is because, having done so many cruises in the Med we are fast running of ports to visit!!  This itinerary has quite a few we haven't been to as its a smaller ship.  I hope to be able to report back afterwards that the experience has improved.   As far as cocktails are  concerned, we will wait and see.  Meantime, if anyone has had experience of what we are planning, I'd be happy to hear it.  

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Yes, cocktails are a bit more expensive than for example long drinks - if you buy them one by one. But attention: the days that the package is linked to the price are gone! You have for example drinks in the most expensive Intenditore package only, that are even a bit cheaper than some others of the Più gusto package, what is included or not can be found by colour codes only. Main difference between Brindiamo and Più gusto that there is no cocktail at all in the Brindiamo package. In every case you buy something what is considered to be above your package you need to pay the full price plus service charge, although you are entitled to unlimited drinks - just not this special one. £ 88 is the equivalent of about 10 or 11 cocktails during the entire voyage.

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I have booked my first cruise with costa for easter next year, and upgraded to the itenditore package. 

For me it is an easy choice as I want to order whatever whenever, and enjoy the best the ship has to offer. I also think the price is reasonably. 

And the fact that I also get the mini bar included is very nice. 

Looking forward to experience the new Smeralda, but first MSC Bellisima this october. Will be interesting to try both and compare. 

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23 minutes ago, Magnelasagne said:

and upgraded to the itenditore packageFor me it is an easy choice as I want to order whatever whenever

 

Sure, it is all depending on the personal taste. If you really like more expensive brands and compare the Costa packages to some other lines Intenditore might be the best choice. Everybody enjoying a cappuccino once a week and bound to a few glasses of water every day shouldn’t take a package at all. For my personal habits Brindiamo would cover most, but seen the very small price difference I generally take the Più gusto package to enlarge the possibilities according to my wishes concerning just a few cocktails I like, while Intenditore for me personally is something, what wouldn’t pay out. As everything everywhere else available I use in my cabin perhaps one bottle of water a week - if I use that much. But as I said before: it is all depending on the personal taste.

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May have to go back to Costa on this one then, if people have experienced having to pay the full price, plus gratuity for a cocktail if not upgrade to Piu Gusto, because this is not what they told me.  I specifically asked this question of them, so that we could make a decision to upgrade to Piu Gusto.  What we really don't want to do is upgrade, then find their cocktails not to our taste and have wasted £88 between the 4 of us which we could find other uses for.

 

They were very specific, if you want a cocktail, for example a vodka based one, you pay the difference between the vodka price included in your brindiamo, and the price of the cocktail.  Similarly rum based, whisky etc.   Plus gratuity of course, there is always that to add.   Which is not at all the same as paying the 9 or 10 euro for a cocktail as though you didn't have a package at all.  Our preference would have been to get the basic cabin, and just buy the package of our choice.  Can't do that though, not on Costa if you're travelling with others and want to dine together.  I actually hate this policy of theirs and have never experienced it on any other cruise line.  

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I understand your issue here. Went with my family on Symphony last summer, and I was the only one out of 12 with a drink package(had a cabin on my own). I do understand the company side of it also. Hard to control if people respect the rules. 

On Symphony I had deluxe+ and only paid what was over 13$ + gratuity. 

But think it sounds strange if you can have the package under Pio Gusto and only pay 2-3$ the times you want a coctail. Guess noone would bother to upgrade then

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3 hours ago, iloveglee said:

  What we really don't want to do is upgrade, then find their cocktails not to our taste and have wasted £88 between the 4 of us which we could find other uses for.

 

 

So it is only costing you 22 pounds each to upgrade? Is that each day or the length of the cruise? How long is your cruise?

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This is what we have been quoted by Costa.  I believe the Brindiamo package (which is attached to our cabin grade, but you can purchase it as a standalone if you book a basic cabin), is 3  euros a day less than the piu gusto which is the one we have had previously (with the cocktails).  So for the upgrade they've quoted £22 per person.  As we're a linked party, that's £88 for the four of us.  We are on an 11 night cruise, and that's the total for the cruise.  

 

It is quite reasonable,  except for the fact that two of the party will not drink cocktails,  being quite happy with the brindiamo. Their £44 will therefore  be a waste of money.  Two of the party do like cocktails, but our previous experience was that on Costa they weren't especially nice.  I think we maybe had one, maximum two per night.  We are not especially big drinkers anyway, but the men do like their beer and whisky later on.  We had worked it out pretty carefully beforehand, and we feel that at the very least we  break even between the four of us.  But we had bought the piu gusto anyway so it didn't make any difference whether we had cocktails or not.   I don't have a problem paying for what we have, but I object strongly being put in a position where everybody has to have the same drink package, when it doesn't suit everybody.  i get that they say people have just bought one, and used it to get drinks for the whole party, but they could monitor this if they wished.  In fact, I'm not sure how people have got away with it, our experience has always been that the bar person has required every card to be handed over, and it's quite obvious from the card what you can and can't have.  

 

This time, the whole pricing structure is quite different, and it is what has prevented us booking with Costa the last year or so.  If you want to link your bookings, which we do, you have no choice but to buy a premium cabin.  We   we have done  this in the past, because  you just bought the cabin, and added drinks packages extra, if you wanted to.  If you are non/small drinker, you probably don't need a package at all.  And there you have a problem if you want to link your bookings.  You can't.  So you either have to do battle with the poor old maitre'd on the first night to be seated together, or to be sure,  have to buy a premium  cabin, which now  comes with a drink package whether you want it or not.  Complicated.?  It certainly is,  and annoying  because, as a party you are being forced into paying for something that you may not want.  

 

We have decided that, in the absence of a definitive answer that we can rely on, we are not going to upgrade the drink package, until we get on board and ask the staff how the whole thing works.  

 

 

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1 hour ago, Magnelasagne said:

But think it sounds strange if you can have the package under Pio Gusto and only pay 2-3$ the times you want a coctail. Guess noone would bother to upgrade then 

 

The price difference between the packages Brindiamo and Più gusto is about that if you book them individually: it is 3 € per person and night. So it is no big difference anyway, not about twice the price as the top package for famous brands e.g.

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4 hours ago, Stefan_Varong said:

 

The price difference between the packages Brindiamo and Più gusto is about that if you book them individually: it is 3 € per person and night. So it is no big difference anyway, not about twice the price as the top package for famous brands e.g.

Ok, I didnt know. About the price of a cup of coffe per night then😂 

I first got the Pio Gusto when I first called to hold a booking, and second call I asked the price for upgrade to Itenditore and it was about 10€ per night I think. 

I got a normal inside cabin(going solo) with the top drink package at Smeralda for about the same price as an inside solo cabin without any package on msc Bellissima. Think it was a good deal. 

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I would love to have the Intenditore package but I just can’t afford it - especially on our 19 night Transatlantic!

Our friends got their free suite upgrade last November for cruising one more cruise than previous year ( I can never get over this one!) and they had the intenditore package included. All for the price of an inside cabin!

They enjoyed the premium whiskey and top brand spirits, but by day 3 or 4 they were thinking it would be a waste of money if they had to pay for it. They hated the cocktails so gave up on them on day 2. It was good to be able to get a bottle of water to take back to the cabin. We usually teeter along with a couple of glasses, but I do take a wide necked empty bottle on board, pour the glass of water into it and put in cabin fridge during the day. 🤗

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I hate those free up-grades we like to have a suite, if you could call them that not much better than a balcony just with a dressing area & bath. Yes the Intenditore is a plus and so called butler service okay but my gripe is we can hardly ever find a cruise were there are any suites left, got the last one on Fascinosa for May only by booking last September, also now with this refunded deposit bar a £50 penalty how on earth can anyone tell what they want to do in 2020/21.

 

We cruised with Costa 3/4 times a year but we don't get an upgrade yet some can cruise with them once this year twice next for a suite up-grade if they have enough points. No suite available at our full price we will go elsewhere.

 

Gripe over but Costa is going downhill.

Edited by tenpin

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Tenpin - I really do indeed how you feel. The upgrade situation is absolutely ridiculous! 

We are loyal Costa passengers but never manage an upgrade and frankly don’t even care!

We stick with Costa now because of our status (diamanté) and the perks we get . We also have Carnival shares so we get the cash to spend every cruise (or we would do more MSC). Costas prices suit us very well as we couldn’t get a balcony cabin anywhere near the price with another Carnival line.

We have certainly seen the decline in service onboard since we started cruising with Costa 6 yrs ago, but we have seen the same with P&O and Cunard. I hated Deliziosas DIY bar system - it makes you feel like you’re on a ferry!

Entertainment, catering, housekeeping - it’s all rubbish. 

These cocktails we have been mentioning are among the cutbacks too - God knows what rubbish is in the mixers! It’s pretty vile and they have a cheek charging extra for a cocktail package

its all sell sell sell when you’re onboard as well. How many places/times can you sit down and have a quiet drink as they are always selling something or doing bingo bingo super bingo!!!!

Their so called duty free shops are far more expensive than our shops at home. People go for it though.

We do not - our bill at the end of the cruise is for daily service charge. We use Costa the best way we can. I don’t know for how much longer - I already regret booking 3 cruises on Deliziosa as I don’t like the ship - it shudders and judders a lot as well as the interior furnishings having no appeal.

Never mind! We are on again on 3rd March!! 🥴

Caryl

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I have to agree that Costa is going downhill, hence why we missed them last year and went with someone else.  We negotiated a reasonable discount this time, even though we were no longer entitled to it.  And as already said in a previous post, the itinerary gave us almost a full 11 days, only going to two places we have been before.  We are also on one of the Neo collection ships, Neoriviera I think.  We haven't been on one of these before, they organise it so that you have very long day in port.  I have felt cheated on some of the Costa itineraries before as the stops were only about 4 hours, not long enough to really do anything.

 

Given that the ships are in port all day, and well into the evening some days, is probably another good reason not to upgrade the drink package!  We probably will be on shore most of the time.  Or eating.  Or in bed.  

 

I have also been interested to read the comments about the cocktails, and whether they are even worth upgrading for.  Seems as though perhaps they are not.  I could do with a copy of a bar menu to look at, so that we can see exactly what is being offered.  I have a vague recollection last time having to revert to Aperol spritzers because the cocktails were so unpalatable.  I can't imagine they have changed.  Am still looking forward to it though, mainly due to the ports.  If anyone has been on NeoRiviera I would appreciate a heads up about this ship.  

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Well for a bit of 'a blast from the past' our first cruise in 1974 was one of the best costing almost as much as one on Costa today. First on Costa 1985 when Costa was rated one of the best for food right until the Concordia incident when they started the decline.

Not sure how others think but our cruising friends would rather pay more for better service and food with Costa than put up with this slow decline.

 

Okay having a bad day, wife's gone out for a Girl's few days leaving poor old tenpin having to cook and make my own bed.

I even gave her my credit card.

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