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Long Review/Recap: American Cruisers Try a Costa Transatlantic Cruise (And LOVE It!)

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Here we are, about a month after returning from our first-ever Costa cruise, so I figured I would finally get around to posting my in-depth review/journal/rambles about our trip. There were so many questions I had about Costa when I was researching, and so few American Costa cruisers, that I thought I would keep a running diary of our cruise to share upon our return. This will be a loooooooong thread (24 days at sea! 2 nights in Venice! 2 nights in Milan! 4 nights in Paris! 5 nights in London!), so it will definitely take me some time to get it all sorted, edited, photos added, and posted. But bear with me! I’ll get there eventually.

 

About us: hubs (henceforth known as ‘R’ for this review) and I are frequent cruisers (on Carnival, NCL, and Royal) in our mid-40s who love to travel and explore. We currently live in Mexico Beach, FL (you may have heard of it thanks to Hurricane Michael last fall) due to a military assignment for me in the Panhandle of Florida a few years ago. In 2017, I was planning to retire from the Air Force in 2018, so I began to plan the big retirement extravaganza (AKA Retirement World Tour 2019). Initially, we had booked a 13-day Transatlantic cruise in a Deluxe Owners Suite on Norwegian Epic - as I knew I definitely wanted a TA cruise in a suite. Neither of us had ever done a TA before (and honestly, R gets stir crazy on a ship after a week), but it was a bucket list item for me, and he’s usually game for any of my travel plans.

 

Us: (Also a test run of inserting pictures!) Let’s see if that worked before I type any more...back soon!

 

 

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Why Costa? After booking Epic in mid-2017, I began looking at other options and found Costa Deliziosa - almost twice as many cruise days and half the price. Reviews seemed to be horrific, but few and far between. Thinking, ‘how bad can a cruise ship really be?’ I booked our deck 7, panorama suite on Deliziosa in fall of 2017. After planning, researching, and generally absorbing everything I could about Costa, I was insanely excited for this cruise - even after reading reviews with such stellar titles as, ‘Worst Cruise Ever,’ ‘Think Again,’ ‘American Cruisers Beware,’ and ‘This Ship Sucks.’ (Yes, all actual titles here on Cruise Critic!) Admittedly, I was a tad nervous after such consistent negative reviews, but that nervousness went away in October. As mentioned previously, in October 2018 our tiny beach town was devastated by Category 5 Hurricane Michael. 80% of the buildings are gone. Our home barely survived and is (7 months later) down to sub-floors and studs, with no electricity. (Although we FINALLY have a rebuilt roof as of last week!) Needless to say, we were stoked to be escaping for a bit and were just looking forward to electricity and running water. Determined to enjoy ourselves even if it really was THE WORST CRUISE EVER, we headed to Fort Lauderdale on 2 March, and boarded Costa Deliziosa at Port Everglades on 3 March. And here we go!

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Day 1 - 3 March 2019 - Port Everglades - 1300 boarding, 2300 departure - We arrived at the port via cab at 1330. Security line was super short (as in non-existent), and we were directed to the suite check-in desk. Similarly, there was no line for any check-in - suite or regular cabin. A quick swipe of our passports, signature of our boarding paperwork certifying that neither of us have been sick in the last 48 hours, and we were ready to go. A ship’s photographer snapped a quick picture with a standard ocean-y background, and we boarded the ship. Upon boarding on deck 2 (at approximately 1345), we were greeted by ship’s staff, had pictures taken that would be linked to our on board accounts, and were informed that our cabin was ready. We immediately went to our cabin to drop off our carry-ons, and were pleasantly surprised. The room was huge, with more storage than we could possibly need, even for our 24 day cruise! 

 

The bathroom had a jetted tub/shower combo, 2 sinks, plenty of towels, washcloths, and hand towels, as well as bath salts, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and body wash for 2. The room set up included a king bed, a small desk with a chair, US and European outlets, a hairdryer, and mirror, as well as a large sofa, armchair and small table, a bank of drawers with a flat screen tv, a separate large desk area with a mirror and mini-fridge (and more drawers and another mirror), 2 nightstands by the bed, and 2 small end tables on either end of the sofa. There are 2 double-wide closets, with plenty of hanging and shelf space, 2 bathrobes, a basket for laundry, and 2 pairs of slippers.  

 

A bottle of Ferrari Maximum champagne was waiting on ice for us, as was a fruit basket, pillow menu, our key cards, and various paperwork welcoming us aboard. As we were checking out the balcony (an aft wrap balcony that could easily accommodate 50 of our closest friends), and noting the 2 chairs and a table, as well as 4 loungers, we heard a knock at the door. 3 of our 4 pieces of luggage were brought in by a cabin steward - delivered at around 1400. 

 

We then went and wandered about the ship for a while, and stopped by the lobby bar for the first cruise cocktail (I opted for a Hugo Spritz rose - which was pink prosecco, elderflower liquor, and soda) - tasty! No receipt, no signature, as we had the Intendore drink package included with our suite (covers all beverages under 9 euro). We strolled through the casino and noted all of the machines had been switched over to euros, but all of the machines were the same standard ones you’d find on any US cruise ship or casino. As we wandered the ship, we noted the large number of areas to lounge in the sun - more than I’ve seen on any previous cruises. We found the swimming pools, and noticed quite a few Europeans soaking up the Florida sun. 

 

After exploring and walking all of the decks, we headed back to the room and unpacked. As mentioned previously, plenty of storage, but definitely too few hangers. At approximately 4:15, we heard a knock at the door, and our butler Ganesh came to introduce himself, drop off a tray of snacks (mainly hors d’ouvres with caviar toppings, prosciutto, and olives), and point out all of the features of the cabin. In our suite, we have access to complimentary 24-hour room service, with a great selection of items (including my beloved roast beef and Brie sandwich from Carnival’s old menu!), access to the Club restaurant (suite guest dining room) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (normally 28 euro per person per dinner if not in a suite), an illy espresso machine with included espresso pods (we requested more regular pods, and less decaf!), the mini-bar with everything included, both sparkling and still water, and are able to request cocktails brought to the cabin (also included in our beverage package). We also requested more hangers from him. 

 

As we boarded sort of mid-cruise (Costa allows boarding in multiple ports on our cruise, and apparently did the same before ours), our sailing time is 2300 (as today is a port day for cruisers already on board), and our muster drill is scheduled for 2030. Also of note, Costa still allows smoking on balconies, and provides an ashtray mounted to the wall outside. As we were enjoying our balcony, our general contractor from back home called to let us know he’d spoken to the insurance adjuster who did a 2nd home inspection - good news! He is recommending emergency funds be sent to us, and estimates our house as a total loss. Good news for us as we no longer have to spend the next 24 days wondering how much money we’ll get to rebuild our home. Whew! At 1650, we had another visitor - our cabin steward (Marc) came to introduce himself and to see if we needed anything. So far, all of the staff has been friendly and (contrary to the constant complaints I’ve seen on Cruise Critic), all speak English perfectly - similar to every other cruise we’ve ever been on. 

 

The ship is well-maintained, and reminds me of a mid-2000’s Carnival ship with the layout and decor. There is artwork and sculptures everywhere you look, and the ship is lovely with marble and Italian glamour everywhere you look. The only thing that we’re not huge fans of (but that still provide us with giggles) is the artwork in each elevator - it’s an Italian/Greek style portrait of a very large face - but they all look very angry. At least we’ll get a laugh every time we hop in an elevator! The ship has banks of elevators at the front, back, and middle of the ship, with the additional glass elevators in the atrium that R is not a fan of (he’s not so big on heights). So far the ship seems easy to navigate, and is just the right size for us. After cruising on Norwegian Epic last month, this ship seems almost quaint!

 

We headed to dinner at the Club Restaurant at 1800, and were invited to select a table. We chose a 2 seat table by the window. There was a basket of bread waiting for us, and the waiter, Jiganesh, came over and gave us our menus (in English). R went with the Chef’s Menu (a pre-selected 4 course dinner - a shrimp appetizer, a pasta dish, a veal tenderloin, and strawberry cheesecake), and I ordered the prosciutto and Italian cheese anti pasta, a rice and pea soup, roasted pork, a salad, and the no sugar added dessert (a fluffy vanilla mousse type dish with berries). I wouldn’t say anything was OMG delicious, but it was all perfectly acceptable and the small servings/multi-course portions were perfect. We also ordered cappuccino and coffee with our desserts, and they were fantastic. Overall, dinner was far better than I’d been led to believe by previous reviews. As we ate, we watched the Carnival Triumph sail into port, and realized that it had ended its last sailing with passengers in New Orleans 2 days prior. It was stopping in Port Everglades to pick up/drop off crew before it sails to Spain for it’s major renovation/re-naming. Very cool to see it sail in one last time! After dinner, we headed back to the cabin to look for bag #4. No luck. But our steward had brought our extra hangars, the Diario di Bordo (daily schedule) for the next day, as well as a breakfast order form that included continental breakfast items, as well as many hot menu items (steak and eggs!).      

  

We then decided to head downstairs early for the muster drill, only to be told by staff that we needed our life jackets. I’ve been cruising since 2002, and haven’t needed a life jacket at a muster drill in at least 10 years (wondering if the Costa Concordia disaster had something to do with it?). Muster was quick and painless, even though it was conducted first in Italian, then in English. It was one of the fastest muster drills I’ve done in quite a while, and included all necessary information. After muster, we headed back to the cabin to find R’s bag still was MIA. We informed our steward, and within 15 minutes, we had a phone call from Guest Services asking for a description of the bag. Within 1 minute of hanging up the phone, they called back to tell us that they had located the bag - the luggage tag had been torn off. Our steward delivered it 10 minutes later. Whew! Crisis averted! After that, we settled in for the night - both a little tired after 2 days of travel and stress over the house, and moving out of our temporary condo. We decided we wouldn’t set an alarm or make any plans for breakfast the next morning - and to just sleep! But first, we wanted to watch sail-away from our balcony. I poured a glass of champagne, and we just relaxed on the balcony until we felt the engines fire up. We watched the port workers untie the lines, and the ship began to slide away from the dock. Dozens of people were on their balconies, watching as the ship departed at around 2345. Finally, we went inside, filled out our room service order form for breakfast, and went to bed at around 0100. All in all, a perfect first cruise day!

 

(Note: I have pictures of all of the Club dining room menus except for the first day. Sorry all! But they will get posted as I go.)

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Balcony - aka my favorite spot for much of the cruise:

 

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Day 2 - 4 March 2019 - Nassau, Bahamas - 1200-1800 - Even though our mattress is super firm, I slept (as I always do on a ship) like a log. We eventually woke up around 0900, and tried to figure out the illy espresso machine - no luck. When our room service showed up (we requested a 0930-1000 delivery time) at 0940, we asked the butler how to work the machine. He showed us (it was pretty simple - unless you haven’t had your morning coffee yet!), and dropped our breakfast off. I ordered steak and eggs, which came with a grilled tomato and sautéed mushrooms. R ordered the French toast and a croissant. We also had 2 glasses of fresh squeezed OJ and coffee. All around a lovely way to start the day, especially as we opted to dine on our balcony.

 

Room service menu:

 

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At around 1030, we could see Nassau off in the distance, and started to putter around and get ready for another day. We’ve both been to Nassau plenty of times (including 3 visits in the last year), so we had no plans. 

 

We docked in Nassau on time (1200), and exited the ship with no delays. First on the agenda: finding a watch repair shop to replace a pin in my watch band. Unfortunately, the Tag Heuer shop doesn’t do repairs, and is new sales only. Luckily, the shop clerk was able to point me to a watch repair shop only 2 stores away. 10 minutes and $8 later, my watch was fixed. We then wandered the streets of Nassau for a bit, then decided to find a bit to eat. Our only requirement (as it was a hot sunny day!) was a place with indoor seating and AC. We ended up at Sharkeez based on that and the free WiFi. R enjoyed a chicken parmigiana sandwich and fries, and I had a Cobb salad - both were delicious. The WiFi required a password (cheerfully provided by our waitress), and we were able to quickly catch up on Facebook and world news. 

 

We also noticed a massive yacht docked next to Sharkeez (named Bravo Amelia), and after a quick google, learned that it was a brand new super yacht owned by Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys owner). Oddly, R thought the yacht was beautiful until he learned who the owner was - then he thought it was tacky. 😄 After lunch, a quick selfie in front of the water was taken and we continued to meander. We stopped in a few shops, but lack of room in our luggage (and the fact that we still have a month of vacation left) prevented us from making any purchases. There was also a quick rain shower, but it was over in 10-15 minutes. Having wandered Nassau enough for the day, we opted to head back to the ship. 

 

Obligatory selfie in Nassau:

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When we re-boarded, we stopped at the lobby bar for some water and a Rossini (prosecco and strawberry juice), then noticed the self-serve machines to link a credit card to the on board account were operational. One quick swipe and signature later, and our account was activated. (Note: Costa will let you make purchases before you link a credit card or place cash on your account, and you have 48 hours from boarding to set up your account.) Easy little system, and the Costa app lets you check your account in real time. Our account had only been charged with our shore excursions (4 excursions, all in Europe - tickets were delivered this morning), and our daily service charge for yesterday (10 euro per person, per day).

 

Once we got that all squared away, we headed back up to our cabin to enjoy the balcony and read (me) and nap (R).

 

Not a bad view while I read!710D74F2-8400-4E06-BACF-C54DE041C58F.thumb.jpeg.30aa6d85a8f19827ce17866d91039ac3.jpeg

 

 

Our cabin had been cleaned and made up while we were out, room service dishes and trays removed, and the requested mattress topper had been added to the firm mattress. We also noticed that instead of 2 decaf and 2 regular illy coffee pods, we now had 6 regular pods. Well done, Ganesh! We also had our large water bottles (1 sparkling, 1 still) replaced, ice bucket refilled, and fresh glasses (sealed in paper to show they were clean) delivered. Our butler and steward are so far doing a fantastic job. 

 

After some time on the balcony, the ship next to us (RCCL Allure of the Seas) kept getting louder and louder - I could hear every word the entertainment staff said over the loudspeaker, and all of the songs. Just a bit annoying when you’re trying to relax! They finally sailed away after multiple line dance songs (The Cupid Shuffle, anyone?) and we had some peace and quiet.

 

Oh, hey Allure!

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Our all aboard time was 1730, with sail away at 1800. Obviously everyone made it back in plenty of time, as we sailed out around 1745 - to the sounds of Andre Bocelli playing on the pool deck speakers. Quite the difference, and it made me happy. The timing was perfect, as we sailed out at the golden hour - Nassau was bathed in golds and pinks from the sun, and it was just the perfect sail away. Carnival Liberty was parked to the other side of us, and followed shortly behind us. 

 

After enjoying the sail out of Nassau from our balcony, we headed to dinner at the Club Restaurant at 1830. All of the window seats were taken, so we sat at a table one away from the window, in the section of our waiter from the previous night. He immediately asked if we wanted still water and champagne (what we had ordered the night before), and brought our menus. Tonight was Greek night, and I was so excited!

 

Club restaurant menu:

 

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I ordered the spanakopita, moussaka, lamb kofta, skipped a salad, and a vanilla mousse with strawberry topping (again, sugar-free). R ordered a Greek salad, the moussaka, roasted chicken breast, and the vanilla mousse. We were both very happy with dinner tonight (except for R’s chicken - it was dry, but the accompanying potatoes were delicious). Everything I had was fantastic - but especially the vanilla mousse! We also had cappuccinos, and were impressed with the meals. After dinner, we wandered outside for a smoke, and checked out the pool deck - which was deserted at 2000. We then meandered down to the shops - they had the most adorable Vespa branded items! No purchases yet, but I had my eye on a few items. (Side note: R bought me a brand new Vespa as my retirement gift, and a month after getting my certification to ride, it got totaled in the Hurricane. 😞 Hence my excitement over the Vespa items in the shops.)

 

After perusing the shops, we walked by the main lobby (a keyboard player with a good voice was performing), the mid-ship stage/dance floor (another live band with a PACKED dance floor - lots of ballroom dancing here), and then the casino for a bit. We both lost our euros, and so decided to head up to the room. Per our daily schedule, we have to set our clocks ahead an hour tonight, and we’ve got a Cruise Critic meet and greet at 1000 tomorrow. I sat out on the balcony and read (Trigger Warning, a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman), and R watched some episodes of The Punisher, season 2. We weren’t necessarily tired, but I just love sitting on the balcony and listing to the ocean and occasionally star-gazing. Early night for us, but as I keep telling R - it’s a marathon, not a sprint! (And our early night entailed us finally going to bed at 0030.) 

 

Bye, Nassau!

 

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Sunset from the balcony.

 

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Day 3 - 5 March 2019 - At Sea - Today is our Cruise Critic meet and greet at 1000, so I set our alarm for 0830. We woke up and made some espresso, then showered and dressed. R went to the Club Restaurant for breakfast, and our dinner waiter came and found him to say hello (and to ask where I was) - very attentive! After a quick shower, we headed downstairs to meet the folks we’d been chatting with on our role call. Jerry was kind enough to have magnets made up with a picture of the ship, and a list of all of our stops. It was a nice gathering, with most people being from England and Australia. The meet and greet was in full swing, but we had to leave at 1115 to catch the last few minutes of the help desk that had been set up to assist with connecting via WiFi. (With everything going on with our house, and being away from the US for so long, I pre-purchased the biggest WiFi package Costa had.)

 

After multiple attempts, the crew member was unable to get either my or R’s phone to connect with our pre-purchased internet package. He advised we go to the service desk, and confirm our birth dates were entered correctly. (Spoiler alert, they were.) While standing in line, I finally got mine to work. Victory! We then headed to the casino to have a cigarette (the casino is non-smoking, but there is a smoking lounge with 2 slot machines adjacent to the casino). After I lost some euros, and R won some euros, we decided it was time for lunch. 

 

We headed to the Club Restaurant (which opened at noon, and had a theme today of rustic Italian food), and swiftly nabbed a seat at the window. They had a lunch buffet set up, which included a salad bar, multiple cheeses and various nuts/jams/fruits, shrimp cocktail, beef tartare, and quite a few other choices. We tasted different things from the buffet to start, and all were tasty. For our main courses, R ordered one of the dishes you can get at any meal (steak frites), and was happy with his choice. I opted for the Italian menu, and ordered Mezzemaniche “alla Gricia” with bacon and Roman pecorino cream sauce (a very tasty pasta dish) and the roasted veal shank with potato wedges (also tasty, if a little fatty in parts). We both selected the sugar-free dessert option, white chocolate mousse, which was delicious. Costa certainly has some of the best desserts I’ve had at sea! 

 

We then stopped back by our cabin, and discovered our room had been cleaned and made up while we were out. Our steward again brought us 6 espresso pods, and the requested 2 down pillows we’d requested from the pillow menu were on the bed. We also had an order form and laundry bag, in case we wanted to take advantage of the Magic Bag offer (25 pieces of laundry done for 19 euro). I’m sure we’ll need that before we depart! 

 

After lunch, we headed to the casino to waste some more money, then we wandered through the shops to look around some more, then headed back to our lovely balcony to read and relax. We got ready for the evening, enjoyed the sunset, and strolled downstairs for dinner at 1900. As tonight was Gala night, we dressed up a bit, and quickly realized that our fellow cruisers were quite a bit more dressed up than normal on a Caribbean cruise. European cruisers really go all out!

 

Gala dinner menu:

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 Dinner was ok tonight - we both ordered the shrimp cocktail as a starter, I ordered the crab soup (meh) and R ordered the lasagna as a second appetizer, and we both had the prime rib. It came with a baked potato and onions on the prime rib. We were both...underwhelmed. It was clearly not what Americans are used to with prime rib - more of a thin prime rib cut of meat that has been grilled. For dessert, I again had the no sugar added option (vanilla mousse) that was delicious, and R had the apple pie. After one bite, he requested the vanilla mousse as well (and finished mine). Overall not a great dinner, but as usual, the service was perfect.

 

After dinner, we stopped off to have pictures taken with the Captain, then we headed to the Duse Theatre (the main theater) for the evening’s show. Tonight was “Vicus” - it was a South African singer in concert. He sang a medley of old songs (think Frank Sinatra style songs), including American songs, Italian tenor-style songs, and a French tune. He was quite talented, and the theatre was the most crowded I’ve ever seen on a cruise ship. Very well done! After the show, we stopped in the atrium to listen to the keyboard player/singer for a bit, then headed to the cabin. Early morning in Amber Cove tomorrow, so we set out the order form for breakfast, and read for a bit on the balcony. Off to sleep by midnight.

 

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28 minutes ago, marsworth75 said:

Thanks for starting your review. So much good info.

 

You're welcome! Back at it later today since it appears technical issues have been resolved! 

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Day 4 - 6 March 2019 - Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, 0800-1400 - This morning was an early one for us - our plan was to get off the ship, and just find somewhere to swim in the ocean. Our requested room service was delivered just after 0730, and included OJ, toast, coffee, and bacon and cheese omelets. We finished the coffee, had an espresso, threw on our swimsuits and sunscreen, and headed off the ship around 0930. In Amber Cove, everyone has to walk through the duty free shop on shore to access anything, so we took a quick look around as we walked through.

 

View from our balcony at Amber Cove:

 

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Upon arrival, we noticed signs for over water cabanas ($320 for the day), so off we went to the excursion hut. A few dollars lighter, and we had our cabana. The cabana included an indoor sofa and table, a television, a safe, mini-fridge filled with soda and water (included), a basket filled with Dominican snacks (yucca chips, plantain chips, etc) an outdoor area with 2 lounge chairs, an outdoor shower, misters, and a swim platform with a ladder. It also included WiFi, unlimited zip line rides, water toys (kayaks etc), and a personal waiter from the nearby bar/restaurant. We spent the day swimming, lounging, and ordering the occasional pina colada. It was an incredibly relaxing day, especially since we were the only one’s in any of the cabanas - it was so peaceful and quiet! We had a great time, and would definitely rent another cabana on a future stop here.

 

Our cabana:

 

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At around 1300, we decided to try the zip line, but unlike a lot of zip lines I’ve done that let you put your belongings in a small bag strapped to your waist, we didn’t learn until we had climbed the 3 billion stairs in the mid-day heat that you actually are supposed to leave your belongings in your cabana. So no zip line for us - but we got some great pictures from the top of the hill!

 

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We finally headed back to the ship at around 1320, to find the Animation Team dancing along to music to greet everyone, and a tent with cold washcloths and cold water. So refreshing! R had no problem bringing on his Sprite from the cabana - I wish I’d known they’d let us, as I would have brought ALL of the Diet Coke from the fridge! (I had no idea Costa only served Pepsi until we boarded. NOOOOO!) 

 

So back to our balcony we went, to watch late tours return, and then to finally sail out. Andre Bocelli again was playing on the Lido deck for sail away - which made me happy. WAY better than the Cupid Shuffle, or any other line dance. We also decided to start getting cleaned up, as there’s a Caribbean Dance Class on the Lido deck at 1600. Why not go learn some Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata? Sounds like fun. Then we get to the Lido deck, and discover that the dance class is in the middle of the Lido deck in the sun - after the last 2 days, I’ve got a bit of a sunburn, and have zero desire to get back in the sun. So we decide to check out the buffet and get a bit of a snack to tide us over until dinner. As it’s after lunch, but before dinner, they have a spread of mini-sandwiches and desserts set out. I tried a cucumber and cream cheese sandwich and a roast beef and mayo mini-sandwich, as well as some fresh pineapple and watermelon and a churro. All was tasty (I could have eaten a few more of those cucumber sandwiches!), and R went back for some more churros. 

 

We then do some walking around the open lower decks and just watch the ocean for a while. After a warm day, a glass of white wine sounded good, so off to the Vanilla Wine Bar for a Pinot Grigio. (The Vanilla Wine bar has an enormous selection of prosecco, cava, champagne, and white and red wines - most of which you can get by the glass.) They also give you a lovely little tapas platter with your wine - green olives, black olives, a pickled apple and shrimp salad, hunks of Parmesan Reggiano cheese, salami, and diced cucumber and ham salad. It was the nicest complimentary bar snack offering I’ve ever seen on a cruise, and all was very tasty. After enjoying the view and our snacks, R declared himself ready for a nap, so back to the cabin where he napped and I sat on the balcony and read, drank my Pinot Grigio, and nibbled on the cheese I had brought back with me.

 

Complimentary nibbles from Vanilla Wine Bar:

 

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At around 1830, R asked if I’d like to see the early show (as neither of us were hungry for dinner yet), so we swing by the Vanilla Wine bar for a glass of Bordeaux, then headed to the main theatre. The show tonight is Fiesta Fantasia, which is a singing/dancing show. It was supposed to be a medley of hits from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, but instead seemed to be a mixture of French, English, and Italian show tunes from those times, except for the last song which was ‘I Will Survive.’ It was...interesting. The lead female singer was really great, and the lead male singer was very good. The dancers, while I know they gave it their all, were never quite in sync. The costumes, lighting, and song choices reminded me of what a cruise ship show in the late 70’s or 80’s must have been like. Unlike every American cruise I’ve been on, there was no warning for parents that the dancers would be wearing showgirl type outfits with *gasp* thongs. It was an immensely entertaining show, and reminded us of a show you’d have seen on the Love Boat. We’re curious to see if the singers and dancers perform different shows throughout the 24 days, because if so, that may explain why the performance seemed a little amateurish - having to learn so many new shows would certainly be difficult! 

 

After the show let out, we wandered to the Mirabilis Grand Bar (the large dance floor and stage in the mid-ship area) to discover that the Animation Team was leading some games. We stood back and watched as each small group of passengers had a Team Leader (named after a different Costa ship) and the goal seemed to be to persuade members of each team to join their team. It was a lot of fun to watch, and the Animation Team did a fantastic job of keeping the energy and entertainment levels high. After the winning team was determined, they led the passengers in a few Italian line dances and generally looked like they genuinely liked, and were having fun with, all of their teammates. After that, we meandered back to the wine bar for a glass of rose, then we decided to head to dinner at around 2015. Tonight’s menu was a Sicilian theme.

 

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R and I both had the Potato salad with asparagus, mayonnaise and lemon juice, R had a Mix berry milkshake (a chilled berry/cream soup that he loved) as his Primi Piatti, and we both had the Chicken jerk served with fried plantain as our Secondi Piatti. The jerk chicken was delicious! For dessert, we both ordered cappuccino and the strawberry mousse with mascarpone cream and strawberry compote (no sugar added) and R declared it his favorite dessert of the cruise. After that, we decided to walk around the ship, then to try our luck in the casino again. No big wins, but we played for a bit on small wins here and there. A woman sitting next to me at one machine won 800 Euros on a 68 cent bet, so at least someone was winning! After donating our allotment of Euros for the day, we headed back to the room with a Jack Daniels and Diet Pepsi, and both sat on the balcony reading and enjoying the sound of the water. I told R that due to the late arrival in Tortola tomorrow, I didn’t want to set an alarm or schedule room service - I wanted to sleep until I woke up for a change! We finally headed off to bed around 0130 or 0200. 

 
 

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Day 5 - 7 March 2019 - Tortola - 1400-2000 - After a blissful night of sleep (I swear I sleep better on a ship than anywhere else), we both woke up around 1000. We made some espresso, and went to the balcony to check out the view. It’s a cloudy day, and we can see a LOT of rain off in the distance. The temperature is still perfect though, and so far we’re keeping dry. R was looking around on the Costa ship webpage, and discovered the ‘virtual concierge’ that I’ve never heard of. I know a common complaint on Cruise Critic is that the stewards never replace washcloths or body wash etc - looks like there’s a solution! A few clicks on the ‘virtual concierge’ and we’ve requested more washcloths and body wash. Within 20 minutes, there was a knock at the door, and we had our requested items, as well as more towels (because the 4 in our bathroom clearly aren’t enough...). What a handy feature! But they should probably let people know that this feature exists!

 

View of the wake sailing in to Tortola

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We puttered around the cabin for a bit, and started getting ready to head to lunch in the Club Restaurant - it opens at 1200 today. Lunch was one of the best meals we’ve had so far on the ship. I went for the Parmesan trifecta: Potato and Parmesan soup, vegetarian Parmesan and vegetable rigatoni, and zucchini parmigiana - with sugar-free lemon mousse for dessert. All were fantastic, but the zucchini parmigiana I hope to see again on a future menu! R had the soup, baked ziti (which he loved), and grilled prawns (which he said were too fishy for him, so he only had 1), and a pistachio parfait for dessert. We headed back to the cabin, took our phones out of airplane mode to use the local cell network and take care of some business, then headed off of the ship at around 1400.

 

The harbor in Tortola

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We just wandered around Road Town, popped into some shops to look around, then wandered back to the harbor. We finally settled in Aromas (a cigar/martini/hookah bar overlooking the harbor) and got some water and drinks. As it was a little slow, the bartender came over and we spent the day chatting with him off and on. Mostly about Hurricane Irma, the local government, and life on Tortola. Just an overall fantastic day. Even though our all-aboard time is 1930, we wanted to check out some local shops, so we left Aromas at around 1700. We found a shop that sold local art/jewelry/knickknacks, and bought our first souvenirs of the trip. We picked up a handmade Christmas ornament and some Cuban cigars. No line, no wait to get back on the ship at 1745 and we zipped back up the room where R quickly headed to the balcony with one of his mini-cigars. After more relaxing on the balcony, we started to get a little hungry, so we checked out the menu for tonight that our butler had dropped off.

 

Tonight’s menu

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Nothing jumped out at R, so we decided to give the pizza and hamburgers on Lido a try. It also meant R didn’t have to change out of his shorts. We got to the Lido deck, and were directed to a reserved seating area, separate from the standard buffet tables. A waiter came over to hand us menus and take our drink order. I wasn’t too hungry, and knew I’d never finish an entire pizza, and R really wanted a burger, so we opted to order a burger for him (with bacon, cheese, grilled onions and a side of potato wedges) and a pizza for both of us to share (Quattro formaggio and an included tiramisu). After a short wait, they delivered the pizza first. Oh. My. Goodness. Hands down the best pizza I’ve ever had on a cruise ship. For 4.50 euros, we got the pizza and dessert. The crust was fantastic - it had the ‘oven fired’ look and taste. And the pizza itself...yum! R’s burger was delivered shortly afterwards, and it was HUGE! He took a bite and declared himself happy. The fries were just out of the fryer and were hot and tasty. His burger and fries were 4.65 euro. Best money spent on the ship so far! The wait staff was happy to box up the leftover half a pizza, and now we’re really looking forward to a midnight snack later! 

 

When we returned to the cabin, our butler came to greet us from down the hall and asked if we needed anything replaced in the minibar, or anything else for the cabin. He happily brought us ice as requested, and bade us a good night. The cabin had already been turned down for the night, and our Diario di Bordo for tomorrow was waiting for us. The show tonight in the theatre is a video concert, Pavarotti Forever, so we plan to skip it and instead attend the creative workshop for Carnival instead. They provide materials for you to create a carnival mask of your own, followed by a Carnival party and a parade. Sounds like a good time! 

 

(Later that night) It turns out there were no free materials to make a Carnival mask - just tissue paper costumes (skirts and tops), but the pool deck was decorated in streamers and the pool was filled with balloons. Lots of great music, and dancing led by the Animation Team. Congo lines around the deck, and a limbo bar to go under, followed by the team handing out confetti and spiral ribbons to toss, and noisemakers. It was such a great party! We danced a bit, limboed, and threw streamers. Then we headed back down to the Mirabilis Grand Bar and watched the ballroom dancers for a bit, then back up to the pool deck for more dancing. All in all, a super fun evening!

 

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Day 6 - 8 March 2019 - Saint Martin - 0900-1900 - No plans again for today. We filled out the room service form for breakfast (and learned that if you underline the 1000 in the 0930-1000 delivery option, they’ll deliver it at 1000 on the dot!). R had pancakes and a bacon omelet, and I requested the eggs Benedict and OJ. And of course, coffee. All was tasty, and we took our time lingering over breakfast and getting ready. 

 

We finally made it off the boat at around 1130, and found ourselves a taxi. After many stops in St Martin over the years, I’ve yet to go to the French side! So we asked to be driven to the French side of the island, and our taxi driver was both informative and entertaining as he narrated the ~30 minute drive with stories of life on the island and some historical bits as well. He dropped us near the marina, and gave us directions on how to get a taxi back. We wandered the street by the harbor, and walked down a long pier by the water. We passed a group of local kids and their dog, skateboarding and jumping into the water, and generally teasing each other as kids do. We walked all the way to the end of the pier, enjoyed the views, then meandered back.

 

The marina from the pier

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Facing away from the shore on the pier 

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We were getting a bit peckish and warm, so we walked to the Yacht Club overlooking the marina and ordered some food. R had a Caesar salad (he says the best he’s ever had), and I ordered a glass of rose and accras (a local fish hush puppy type appetizer) which was delicious! We just enjoyed the views and the food, and listening to the locals chatting in French. After a bit, we headed to a bakery we had seen on the drive in - it had a line out the door, so we figured it must be good! Clearly everything was baked fresh daily, as the dessert display was running low, and nothing that was sold out was replaced. R was happy to order a cannoli, and I got a strawberry tart. YUM! I would go back to that bakery in a heartbeat! 

 

At this point, it was close to 1500, so we decided to get a taxi to head back to the Dutch side. Traffic on the way over was a nightmare in spots, and we still wanted to walk along the beach before we got back on the ship. Our taxi driver on the way back was...less friendly than the first. R was actually sternly spoken to about using the grab handle above the door (“If that breaks, I have to pay to replace the whole thing!”) and the driver was silent the whole drive back. He also was probably the rudest driver I’ve ever seen - I found myself not wanting to make eye contact with all of the other drivers around us as he cut them off, refused to yield, etc. And yet, as he dropped us by the beach in Phillipsburg, he was nothing but charm and friendliness as we were exiting. Odd drive, for sure! (Taxi ride from the cruise ship dock to Marigot on the French side was $25 and took about 30 or so minutes.) 

 

I noticed a shop that R had wanted to come back to (Blanc du Nil), so we went in and did some shopping. R found a white button down shirt he loved, and I found a white cotton tunic that I liked as well - they’ll come in handy on white night on the cruise! We then set out to find our favorite bar - I don’t know the name, but it’s the Ohio State Buckeye bar on the beach. We found it last time we were here, and loved it, so we had to make a return stop. Unfortunately, we only had time for a quick drink and picture, as it was 1615 and they were closing up.

 

Go Buckeyes!

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We then noticed that everything seemed to be closing up, so we popped into a convenience store for some snacks for R, then headed to the water taxi to take us back to the ship. $5 each one way, $7 round trip. Easy peasy.

 

Water taxi ride pics

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Back to the ship where we went back to the cabin to relax and freshen up, then off to dinner. Dinner tonight was German cuisine. 

 

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R ordered the smoked pork loin and I had the lentils salad as the antipasti. We both had the Farfalle Pasta with four cheese sauce as our Primi Piatti and declared it fantastic! We both had the oven roasted Cornish game hen with sautéed fennel and fried carrots as our Secondi Piatti and found it over cooked. We both finished up the meal with the no sugar added Gianduja mousse (a chocolatey delight.) I’m of the opinion that the food is getting better and better every night. Dinner took a bit longer than usual tonight, as the restaurant was almost full. The wait staff and kitchen got a little backed up, but we didn’t mind at all. Our lovely waiter, Jignesh, and the maitre de’ both kept apologizing for the delay between courses, but in our eyes there was nothing to apologize for. Due to the delay, we missed the late show in the theatre (the Swing Swing Show), but felt we probably didn’t miss much. 

 

So off to the casino - where apparently the casino wanted to make up for taking my 50 or 100 euro per day so far. R started out doing well (240 euro on one spin), and I was basically holding my own on the 88 Fortunes machines. I then decided to head over to the Dancing Drums machines, where I had a few good bonuses (one of which was 340 euro). I was finally winning, and decided to try the 88 Fortunes machines for a bit longer. Lo and behold, I ended up winning a major jackpot of 825 euro! Whee! I had to wait for casino staff to come and write me a ticket to take to the cashier’s cage though. After my big win, R suggested we play Wheel of Fortune - where we were up and down quite a bit. Not quite ready to go to bed, R suggested a bank of machines next to the Wheel of Fortune machine, where I got a few bonuses and was having a ball. We finally figured we should probably head to bed at around 0100, since we had an early morning the next day. There went the plan to go to bed at 2230. Oops. Worth it, though!

 
 

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35 minutes ago, singinalot said:

following!

 

Thanks for reading! 

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Day 7 - 9 March 2019 - Antigua - 0800-1700 - We slept in this morning, and finally crawled out of bed at around 0945. No room service for us this morning, as we just had some coffee, threw on our swimsuits and sunscreen, and headed out for the day. A little cafe overlooking the harbor grabbed our attention (free WiFi!), so we stopped for some sodas and an early lunch. I just ordered an appetizer (tzatziki and pita bread!), and R ordered a bagel and a pastrami sandwich. Good stuff, and the WiFi was pretty good. Then, off to find a taxi!

 

Oh, good morning, Antigua!

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We were lucky enough to meet the lovely Ingrid, who asked what kind of beach we wanted to go to. We requested a beach with shade, a restaurant, and easy access to swimming in the ocean. She told us she had just the place for us, about 20 minutes away. As she drove us to the other side of the island, she narrated the drive, told us about the island, life there, and was just generally fun to ride with. She took us to Valley Church Beach, and requested an umbrella and lounge chairs for us from the staff ($20). The beach was uncrowded, and the water was just gorgeous. Ingrid asked when we wanted to head back, and we told here we’d like to leave no later than 1500. She told us she would wait for us, and just to come find her when we were ready to go. Easy peasy. 

 

Having never been to Antigua, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the day was one of those perfect beach days. After 30+ cruises (and probably 90+ island visits), this beach and this island are in my top 5 of all time. I couldn’t get over how gorgeous the water was! After many swims in the ocean, mini-naps in our lounge chairs, and 2 rum punches, we were dismayed to realize it was almost time to head back. We never wanted to leave! Ingrid was easy to find, waiting in her taxi van, and chatted with us the whole drive back. (Round trip, essentially a private driver for the day, was $64.) She was a gem, and we requested a business card so we can look her up next time we’re here. And there will definitely be a next time!

 

The dot in the middle of the water is R

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I love this beach!

 

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When we finally got back to our cabin at around 1545, we found an invitation to a cocktail party with the captain tomorrow night at 2000, formal attire requested. Also, we found our balcony railing had been varnished while we were out and about, and there was red and white caution tape strung along the length of the balcony so it could dry untouched. Our cabin was made up perfectly yet again, and our espresso pods, and large bottles of sparkling and still water had been replenished. (Note: I LOVE that we get as many large bottles of water as we want, and everything in our minibar (which gets replenished daily) included in our suite - NCL, you should take note.) We relaxed on our balcony until sail away, when we enjoyed the views until we could no longer see Antigua.

 

Bye, Antigua! We’ll be back.

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Then, time to relax, and then get showered up for dinner. Tonight is the Lombardy Menu (whatever that means!). Annnnd then the menu turned up.

 

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Dinner was once again very tasty! I ordered the Russian salad with vegetables and eggs (which turned out to be diced potatoes, peas, and carrots in a light cream sauce with sliced hard boiled eggs on the side), and R ordered the grilled turkey skewer served with saffron sauce as our antipasti. For the Primi Piatti, I ordered the risotto Milanese style, and R ordered the Fusilli Pasta sautéed with sausage and ricotta cheese sauce. For the Secondi Piatti, I ordered the fried polenta and Gorgonzola cheese sauce, and R ordered the Lamb in a Parmesan cheese crust with string beans and tomato jam. For dessert, R ordered the no sugar added almond tart (and declared himself underwhelmed), and I ordered the warm pain Perdu served with vanilla sauce (YUM!). I ate half, and R finished the rest. After dinner, we headed back to the room, since R wanted to change his shoes for some comfier ones, then off to the casino to see if we could continue our winning streak. I did not, but R did. Finally off to bed fairly late, with zero plans to wake up tomorrow at a set time. 

 
 

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Day 8 - 10 March 2019 - Sea Day - Today we slept very late - the sound of the engines and the rocking of the ship always make me sleep so well. I woke up at about 1045, and enjoyed the feeling of nothing to do quite yet. At 1100, the captain made his announcement for the day (the first time it’s been broadcast into the cabins), reminding everyone to move their clocks forward (per our Diario di Bordo, the time change was at 1100 - mid-day, which is odd). He also gave the temperature, bearing, sea state, sea depth, speed, etc. 

 

We decided that since it was technically noon, we should wake up and have some espresso then head to lunch. We were lucky enough to get a window seat at lunch, so we had some spectacular views. I did a quick look-see at the lunch buffet, and opted to make a salad with mixed greens, celery, yellow bell peppers, and blue cheese dressing. Nothing jumped out at us on the set lunch menu, so we ordered the every day option of steak and French fries. We both ordered medium, but they came back rare. A quick nod to the maitre de’, and they were whisked away and new steaks were promptly delivered much more to our liking. Lunch was tasty and relaxing, and we headed back to the room to find it already cleaned for the day. 

 

The steward had also left our magic bag forms and bags on the bed (19.99 for 25 items to be laundered), and we filled 2 bags. Tonight we have a cocktail party with the captain in the piano bar, with formal attire requested, and the suggested dress code ship wide is black and white. R realized his white shirt needed to be pressed, so he called the steward who quickly came to the cabin, gathered up the filled magic bags, and R’s shirt - with a promise to have it back to him by 1900. None of the activities today jumped out at us, so we just enjoyed reading on the balcony and watching the wake of the ship. We had planned to go do some walking after lunch, but the movement of the ship has us feeling entire too sleepy and lazy. Maybe tomorrow...

 

This view never gets old!

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But after lounging around the room for 30 minutes or so, we decided to go wander the ship and see what’s happening. Bingo was happening on deck 2 in one of the clubs, so we took a detour to the shops. One shop has the usual perfumes and makeup (Lancôme, Estee Lauder, and Clinique seemed to be the big 3 brands). Then over to the clothing/knickknack shop to try on sunglasses and look at Costa and Vespa items. After that, we headed to the atrium bar for a drink. R tried the Pink Panther (a non-alcoholic strawberry shake type drink), and I decided to try an Aperol spritz. I’d bought the ingredients to make it when we booked this cruise in 2017, and wasn’t a fan once I whipped one up. Thinking maybe it was something I wasn’t making properly, I figured I’d give it a shot made by professionals. Nope. It’s not a drink for me - just a bit of a bitter aftertaste that doesn’t work for me.

 

The infamous Aperol Spritz - clearly I’m the only person on the planet that isn’t a fan...

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After that, I instead ordered a Hugo (a prosecco, elderflower syrup, and soda concoction) that is refreshing, but sweet.

 

Never did find out what “assorted squashes by the glass” were...

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We listened to the music, chatted with the bartenders, then figured it was time to start getting cleaned up and dressed for the evening. I need to figure out what I’m wearing as the cocktail party requests formal wear, and the ship’s theme is black and white. That doesn’t leave me a lot of options! My fanciest dress is metallic silver and grey, but I do have a white/cream filmy button down shirt, and a black lace midi-skirt that might work, as well as some black palazzo pants that I adore. Time to play dress up and figure it out!

 

I finally settled on the black palazzo pants and a white button down, with black heeled boots. We made our way to the atrium bar for a cocktail and some people watching, then headed to the Captain’s cocktail party. The staff of the ship was lined up to greet guests, and a picture was snapped with us and the captain. The room was fairly full when we arrived, but we nabbed a table that we shared with 2 German women. The band was playing some light music, and waiters were circulating with trays of cocktails and appetizers. After a while, the captain took to the floor to thank us for joining him, and for sailing Costa. He then introduced the staff, bade us to have a good evening, and departed. Someone has to drive the ship, I suppose! We stayed for a bit, then decided to check out tonight’s menu to see if we would be dining in the Club or ordering pizza again. 

 

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Right. Pizza it is, then. We again ordered the four cheese pizza to go, and the lemon pie for dessert. We thoroughly enjoyed the pizza and pie, and settled in for a lazy evening. These sea days are made for being lazy and sleeping!

 

Not a bad sunset at all

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Hi

 

Great review. I am glad to see you enjoyed your cruise.

 

Riana

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This is what I call a great review 👍👌 Excellent photos and thank you so much for posting photos of the menus in the Club Restaurant. I have not sailed on Costa yet but we are considering going in a Suite next February from Singapore. Your review give me a good idea of what to expect. Thank you 👍 

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Our cruise comes along in October, 21 nights in a suite.   I'm glad that the laundry bag comes early enough so you can get clean clothing during the cruise and not just at the end.  Can you tell me about the wine bar - Day 4 you mentioned several trips for different wines.  Were they included in your drinks package or paid for extra ?  We had a suite on our last cruise but didnt have club dining on Costa Neo Romantica so it was nice to see your menus.  We ended up in the "pay for" restaurants which was well worth it as the food was fabulous. 

 

This is such a fabulous and informative review.  I'm looking forward to enjoying our next cruise. Thank you for sharing.

P.S. I'm considering selling a kidney and joining you in 2023 😉

 

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On 5/8/2019 at 8:47 AM, alicat58 said:

Hi

 

Great review. I am glad to see you enjoyed your cruise.

 

Riana

 

On 5/8/2019 at 12:55 PM, Norwegian Cruiser 73 said:

This is what I call a great review 👍👌 Excellent photos and thank you so much for posting photos of the menus in the Club Restaurant. I have not sailed on Costa yet but we are considering going in a Suite next February from Singapore. Your review give me a good idea of what to expect. Thank you 👍 

 

Thanks for reading along! I'll be getting back to it today and adding more!

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On 5/10/2019 at 5:41 AM, Janet&Carl said:

Our cruise comes along in October, 21 nights in a suite.   I'm glad that the laundry bag comes early enough so you can get clean clothing during the cruise and not just at the end.  Can you tell me about the wine bar - Day 4 you mentioned several trips for different wines.  Were they included in your drinks package or paid for extra ?  We had a suite on our last cruise but didnt have club dining on Costa Neo Romantica so it was nice to see your menus.  We ended up in the "pay for" restaurants which was well worth it as the food was fabulous. 

 

This is such a fabulous and informative review.  I'm looking forward to enjoying our next cruise. Thank you for sharing.

P.S. I'm considering selling a kidney and joining you in 2023 😉

 

 

Thank you! Happily, they brought laundry bags at least once a week. We took advantage of them heavily! And the wine bar drinks were included in our package - but I think they had a few nicer wines that weren't. The 'by the glass' portion of the menu there is enormous, and clearly marked with what wines are included in which packages. Super easy to figure out!

 

And I'm not sure what a kidney goes for these days, but surely it's enough to at least cover half of a Regent world cruise, yes? 😂

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Day 9 - 11 March 2019 - Sea Day - We had no plans today, and slept in again. After a few espressos in the cabin, we headed to the club for lunch. As soon as we walked in, all we could smell was that fishy smell that indicated the lunch menu was seafood heavy - and it was. Looks like it’s steak and fries for us again! And for dessert, the no sugar added strawberry mousse - which was of course delicious! After lunch, we wandered the ship, and settled in the atrium bar for a cappuccino. Then back to the cabin to enjoy the balcony, calm seas, and sun for a while. I am getting a massive amount of reading and relaxing in on this cruise!

 

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After that, it was rose and gambling for the majority of the day. Oops. We reviewed the dinner menu, and again decided to skip dinner for pizza.

 

Fancy shmancy dinner menu tonight:

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We changed things up a bit, and ordered the buffalo mozzarella pizza, that had mozzarella cheese, arugala, and crushed tomatoes. And apple pie for dessert, which to me wasn’t as tasty as the lemon pie the previous night. I also filled out the room service menu, ordering steak, scrambled eggs, and toast for me, and a bacon omelette for R, to be delivered at 1000. Per the Diario di Bordo, we’re moving the clocks forward an hour tomorrow morning at 1100. This presents a bit of a dilemma, as we received an invitation to a wine tasting event for suite guests at 1145. If we move clocks forward at 1100, there is no 1145. Guess we’ll play it by ear!

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Day 10 - 12 March 2019 - Sea Day - We were awakened just before 1000 by a knock at the door, and our breakfast. The steak isn’t the same as you get in the Club restaurant, and was thin and over cooked - but at least it was fairly tender. After breakfast, I hopped in the shower, figuring I’d head down to the wine tasting at what would have been 1145, but was in reality 1245. Turns out, I figured wrong and the wine tasting was technically at 1045. Whoever scheduled that did so poorly. Back to the cabin to lounge on the balcony. Today is cooler, and the skies are grey - and we’re heading into rain.

 

Booooo to grey skies!

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You’ll notice in the next pic, we still have the caution tape up from where they applied fresh varnish to the railing a few days ago. Hoping they come and remove it soon!

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More relaxing on the balcony, then we should probably head to lunch shortly. I’ve got a nail appointment in the spa at 1500, and nothing else planned for the day. I’m loving these sea days!

 

Tonight’s suggested dress code is gala/masquerade. Not entirely sure what that means, but I guess we’ll find out! The lobby is decorated with gold lame material banners - one of these days I’ll catch them when they switch out the decor! (It’s been different each day - yesterday for Italian day with red, white, and green suggested dress for the evening, there was a massive Italian flag hanging in the atrium over the bar.)

 

After some time on the balcony, R and I decided to not show up at 1340 for lunch (the club closes at 1400), so instead headed to the buffet to grab a quick bite. I had a salad, some gnocchi with a red sauce, and some baked penne pasta with beef ragout. R opted for 2 pork chops that looked like they had been grilled for a few days too long. He said they had a great flavor though. I tried the cheesecake for dessert (very creamy in texture and delicious) and R tried the no sugar added blueberry mousse. If his swiftly emptied plate was any indication, it was fantastic.

 

As it was getting close to 1440 at this point, I left to go to the spa where I had my nail appointment. The manicure station faces a wall of windows, so I had lovely views of the ocean during my manicure. The technician did a great job, and I was perfectly happy with my shellac manicure. It included a salt scrub of the hands and lower arms, as well as a hot stone massage which were very nice. It also included an eye treatment, but as I’d applied makeup this morning, I skipped it, and made a note not to wear makeup to my next appointment in 2 weeks. I settled up the bill and went back to the cabin to see if R had returned yet. He returned shortly after I did, and had gotten a cappuccino and walked around the boat a bit. 

 

Luckily the weather has cleared up quite a bit, and I think the exterior decks are no longer closed due to high winds. Tonight we have a ‘Costa Club show’ that is invite only. It’s at 1715 in the Duse Theater, and a complimentary photo will be taken before the show in the piano bar (we can pick up the picture tomorrow at the Photo Shop). The invitation states there will be prizes for every level starting from Club Acquamarina, and a surprise award for one of the guests present - as well as music, shows, games, and a toast with other members. Suggested dress code is Gala, and they urge you to wear an article of clothing or accessory in the color of your Club level. Unfortunately, I didn’t pack any Amber colored clothing or accessories. Ah well. Now I know for next time.

 

We walked down to the Excite Piano Bar to have our picture taken at around 1700, then walked to the theatre. At the entrance, bar waiters stood with trays of champagne, fruit punch, and a green cocktail of some sort. I plucked a champagne flute off of the tray, and we headed up to the balcony. After a few minutes, we instead went down to the main floor of the theatre so we could see a little better. There was a duo on stage singing, and a few couples were dancing on stage. Eventually, the ship’s professional ballroom dancers entered the theater, and began asking guests to dance. This is something I’ve never seen on a cruise before (we noticed it early on in the cruise, but I figured I’d remark on it here), and I love the way they focus on the older gentlemen and ladies who might like to dance, but either don’t have a partner, or their partner isn’t up for dancing. 

 

After about 20 minutes of song and dance, the cruise director came out, said a few words, showed a video, and then introduced the captain and some staff. At this point, they announced the names of each level of Costa Club’s highest point holders. Each person was invited to the stage for a trophy presentation and a picture with the staff. They also selected one person at random from the audience who won 200 Costa Club points. Then one more video of the staff and crew thanking everyone for cruising, and that was that. Nice little gathering, and seemingly very popular based on how crowded the theatre was. Having had a light lunch, we then made our way to dinner at the Club Restaurant. The dinner menu tonight was another Gala menu:

 

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R ordered the Italian appetizer, penne pasta with swordfish, beef flank steak, and the honey and mascarpone mousse. I ordered the eggplant parmigiana, pumpkin gnocchi, beef flank steak, and honey and mascarpone mousse. Everything was tasty, and served hot. I would order any of those menu items again!

 

After dinner, we had about half an hour until the evening’s live show, “Rock the Boat” began in the main theatre, so off to the lobby bar to get a glass of champagne. We arrived at the theatre approximately 5 minutes before showtime, and had no problem finding seats in the balcony - just in case we wanted to make a quick getaway. The show (in my opinion) was better than the previous show, mainly because this show featured 2 performances by an aerial couple. They were fantastic, and we’ll definitely go to see any future shows they’re scheduled for on the ship! The song choices for the main portion of the show (with the 2 lead singers, and cast of dancers) ranged from Lady Gaga, to Elvis and Queen, with some Village People and Bonnie Tyler thrown in for good measure. Overall a fun show, and the dancers seemed to be a bit more ‘on it’ than the previous show. When the show let out, we gambled in the casino a bit, then headed to the cabin to enjoy the balcony and read a bit, then off to bed.

 

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