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Review of Costa Magica March 12-19th


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We just came back from Costa Magica March 12 – 19th. We went on a cruise many years ago (Royal Caribbean early 1990s) but cruise ships have changed so much that I considered us “first time cruisers”. We traveled with our two kids, aged 15 and 12. This review is long but I hope it helps especially for first time cruisers.

We read Cruise Critic frequently prior to our cruise and I must say that the some of the negative reviews were completely uncalled for. Especially for first time cruisers, these reviews create unnecessary doubts and stress. We met one couple on the cruise that had the same negative attitude and it can really bring you down. I am convinced these people are never satisfied – IF YOU MEET SOMEONE LIKE THIS ON THE CRUISE – RUN THE OTHER DIRECTION! IF YOU ARE UNLUCKY ENOUGH TO BE SEATED IN THE DINING ROOM WITH PEOPLE LIKE THIS – ASK THE MAITRE’D TO CHANGE YOUR TABLE ASAP – DON’T WORRY ABOUT BEING RUDE – THIS IS YOUR VACATION!!


Very smooth process. We arrived at Port Everglades at 12 noon. We were on the ship by 1:00 pm. Our embarkation took one hour because I waited at the port while my husband returned our rental car and took the shuttle back. If it wasn’t for the rental car return we would have been on the ship in 20 minutes!! If you can embark early, we enjoyed the ship, got to know the layout for 6 hours before it set sail!

Disembarkation was smooth –we were off the ship, cleared customs and had our luggage in 20 minutes. Then it was CRAZY but that is not Costa’s fault – what do expect when 7 cruise ships are disembarking at the same time! If you are renting a car, we suggest that you book with TWO rental car companies and hop on the rental car shuttle that arrives FIRST. For us, THRIFTY worked out and we cancelled our BUDGET rental. BUDGET runs very few shuttles and they are always full by the time the shuttle drives by the Costa Magica gate.

The Ship:

The ship is beautiful, very clean and well maintained. We had a quad inside cabin and it had GREAT storage (we traveled with ++luggage and Dive Equipment). Lots of storage under the beds. The room was kept IMMACULATE – towels changed 3 times a day. They also provide towels to take on excursions. Lots of towels available by the pools. Our cabin steward was fabulous. We were not planning on tipping above the automatic tip but he did such a good job that we gave him extra money at the end. We did ask him to empty the fridge (of soda) so we could store our own non alcoholic drinks and he put extra topper mattresses on all the beds. Ice water and unsweetened Iced Tea are plentiful in the dining room and on the buffet so I wouldn’t bring my own drinks next time.

The Gym facilities were great – state of art treadmills and weight machines. There is Jacuzzi in the gym as well.

The Food:

We had a running JOKE on our vacation that the buffets only had Jell-O and powdered eggs! I cannot believe that anyone who has been on Costa Magica would post this in his or her review!! I agree that food is completely subjective BUT there was so much food and choices that I can’t believe anyone would walk away hungry or unhappy with the food.

It is not 5 Star Gourmet Restaurant food but the meals were very good and plentiful. I would compare it to a good Italian Banquet/Wedding meal. There was a midnight buffet every night – each with a different theme. The dinner entrees were very good – my husband tried many of the beef dishes (fillet, veal, prime rib) and I had a lot of fish and vegetarian entrees – all very good. The beef was cooked to order (medium rare). On lobster night, don’t hesitate to ask for 2 lobster tails – you can also get prime rib with it!

Our only complaint was that a few of the entrees were not as hot as we would like. The soups and pasta were good and hot. The desserts were good but they are “European” (not as sweet/rich as North Americans are accustomed to). Overall, I only tasted one soup and one dessert in the entire week that I disliked. We suggest that you try the dining room for breakfast and lunch. The buffets were very good but the restaurants offer other dishes like eggs benedict, ribs, moussaka as well as items that are in the grill, buffet area (grilled chicken, burgers, hotdogs, fries).

The breakfast buffet has an egg station (with REAL eggs) that will make you eggs any style and omelettes. And yes, the buffets and midnight buffets have more than just JELLO!

We all gained weight if that is any indication as to how good the food was!!


We did not come across ONE employee who did not speak English clearly. The staff is trained to speak many languages. Our waiter spoke 5 languages. We enjoyed the different languages spoken on board. We found EVERY SINGLE EMPLOYEE to be polite, helpful and courteous. Our cabin steward, waiter and assistant waitress were FABULOUS. We gave them extra tips and the end of the trip (this is not necessary with automatic tipping but we thought they did such as great job).


The kids loved the shows – it was the highlight of every evening.


Key West:

We didn’t take any tours- we walked around and explored.


If you are a scuba diver, don’t hesitate to book with Scuba Tony. He is a great dive master. My husband and son said it was an INCREDIBLE dive! Tony was even kind enough to drop my daughter and I off at Paradise Beach. I think Paradise Beach is still in great shape (even since Hurricane). The admission is free and the food is good.


We booked a private van with Marva Shaw and went to James Bond Beach, The Ranch Restaurant and drove up towards Shaw Gardens to view the bay. We were able to get a great picture of the boat from the top of the hill. We snorkeled and played with Sting Rays.

Jamaica is starting up a String Ray City at James Bond Beach. I will post my review of it on the Jamaica link.

Cayman Islands:

We rented a car from AVIS and went to Dive Tech (in West Bay) for diving and snorkeling and then to Seven Mile Beach for sun. The only drawback was heavy traffic on West Bay Road (we almost didn’t make it back to the ship!!)


With the kids sail free promotion; Costa Cruise offers a great vacation, great food, and entertainment for great value. This is the best vacation we have ever had!

We would book Costa again in heartbeat – hope to travel with them in 2007! :)

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