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Extensive Costa Mediteranea Review 3/12-3/19

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Extensive Review of Costa Mediteranea 3/12-3/19

:)

Here is my review of the Costa Mediteranea from 3/12-3/19. It was a splendid experience. Our itinerary was as follows: Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, Saint Thomas, Catalina Island, La Romana, and Nassau, returning to Fort Lauderdale.

We took a taxi to Port Everglades and it worked out well. The security line was approximately 25 minutes long. Even though we were in a suite, we had to wait on the security line. We didn’t care though. After security, we told Costa people we were in a suite (because we heard about the VIP Check in). Costa showed us to a priority check in line on the side, but there was no line at all for the normal check in. So we spent the same amount of time checking in as everyone else. Upon arrival at the gangplank, crew members were offering handywipes. This is an excellent germ control practice. This ship received a 100% on the CDC Sanitary review. We got on the ship early and we were told to go to the Perla Del Lago Buffet. The excellent food was an indication of the excellent food that was to come. But wait! I am going to mention something that no one really talks about and simply overlooks: THE SHIP IS BEAUTIFUL. Walking into the Maschera D’Argento atrium keeps your eyes busy. Joe Farkus did an amazing job. Your eyes will be lead from one piece of art to another. The dancing statues add a festive look to this very Italian cruise ship. I had to take a photo right away! After eating for approximately 30 minutes we went to our suite where caviar, champagne and other appetizers awaited. The ship is extremely clean! It looks brand new. There is no evidence of wear or tear anywhere.

The mostly Filipino crew members are a pleasure to be with. They have a special warm ring to their voices and are very friendly. The Italians are mostly involved in the entertainment aspects of this ship. Our cabin attendant and butler were very friendly. We actually did not see our butler often but that was OK. Our cabin attendant took care of our needs and there really wasn’t anything that we really needed a butler for. All of the staff is accommodating from Bar Service to the people cleaning the hallways. The suite was beautiful. The murano glass lamps in our room gave the cabin a warm glow. Our suite was larger than most due to the structure of the boat on the mid to lower floors. The sacrifice for a large interior space was decreased balcony space but the sheer size of the interior rendered that fact irrelevant. Upon reaching the maximum cruise speeds, the rear of the ship vibrateed a bit but on this journey, but we only reached full speed once, during the Fort Lauderdale to San Juan leg. Otherwise the ship is rather stable, even in moderate seas.

The entertainment on board this ship is very good. The Osiris Theater, like other Costa Theaters, is beautiful. It is Egyptian themed and colorful. Seating is very spacious. We sat in the mezzanine (to decrease the risk of being called up on stage). One good thing about mezzanine seating in the Costa Mediteranea is that if the person in front of you leans forward you can still see the show unobstructed because of the curved nature of the seating area. The only complaint about the mezzanine is that the speakers are on the ceiling and it is very loud. At times it is so loud that you can not understand what they are saying. In addition, the seats on the far sides of the mezzanine have poor sightlines for viewing things way back in the rear of the stage. The actors are not Broadway quality but that is not expected on a cruise ship. The two big production shows are excellent. “Time Machine” is a great act. Its amazing how much scenery they can fit into the wings and fly space of the Osiris theater. “Time Machine” featured an actor going back into different time periods and experiencing something about life back then. A notable time period was revolutionary France. To portray this period, two songs were selected from Les Miserables. Another fantastic production is “Solid Gold”. This is a high energy show requiring quick costume changes. I was anticipating a 1950’s style show based on its title but the show is in fact a composition of songs from various decades. It was very well done. There are no notable singers in these shows.

The crew talent show was nicely done featuring crew members singing and dancing. Some actually sing better than the professional performers. This is the same stock show that is presented on other ships, such as the Costa Magica. The cruise director, Paul Rutter, lacked the gusto of other cruise directors. He was seen each night in the theater introducing each show. Paul’s attempts to make the audience feel at ease by making small jokes were not effective. Although articulate, he did seem a bit stiff. His only language was English. He did not really do that much to make the boat feel like it is registered in Italy except insist that the audience call him “Paolo” Max Bertolotto, of the Costa Magica, was much more suave. One final note, this being an Italian boat, there were very few Italian songs. The shows could have been a bit more Italian themed instead of focusing on British/American music and Broadway.

Other notable performances were a man who can juggle like you have never seen someone juggle as well as perform a human slinky. An Italian-American singer catered mostly to an older Italian-American audience and wasn’t the best choice for a Costa boat, although he had an impressive voice. A Spanish female singer/dancer offered a more international flair the first night. She was enjoyed by all and offered a Hispanic flair to the cruise, since two of our destinations were in Spanish speaking countries.

Other entertainment included cabaret performers in the lounges. The singer in the darkly lit Talia lounge was excellent. His singing led to countless dancing couples on the dance floor. The Giardino Isolabella lounge also had cabaret performers. Entertainment during the day included dance lessons on the upper outdoor decks. These areas tended to be loud. Night activities varied by night. The most notable events were Italian night and another International night featuring music and acts from various countries. The “animazione” or entertainment provided an upbeat feeling to the parties. Especially noteworthy was the lively pool party after leaving La Romana. Audience participation was at a high as the event acted as a prelude to the poolside midnight buffet that night.

The public areas are splendid. The ship is like an art museum. No, the ship IS an art museum. As mentioned before, it takes a long time to take in the art work of the Maschera D’Argento Atrium. The Grand Canal Casino is a bit bright for a casino. Most passengers overlooked the fact that it is Venetian themed. There was even Murano glass in the casino (as well as all over the ship—even in our suite). Piazza Casanova has a marvelous staircase above a waterfall leading to one of the most beautiful bars on the ship, the Roero Bar. In the Roero bar, you can even pick a brochure to learn about the lesser known area of Roero in Italy. In this area, one will find a beautiful oriental style café. Perhaps the most overlooked public space aboard is the stunning Winter Terrace. This is a long corridor that is built into the mezzanine of the theater leading to the Chapel and Game room. Each time I visited this area, I was alone. Very few people seemed to have discovered it. I can not determine the purpose of the Winter Terrace. It wraps around the front of the ship, has many seating areas and large port holes but there is no bar or any activities there. It is simply a place to go to when you want to retreat from the busier areas of the ship. What a unique place to retreat to! The walls of the cabin hallways are adorned with art. Even the elevators feature artwork, especially posters of Italian masks. On the landings of the stairwells are interesting figurines. The hallways that border the atrium have nautical windows looking down onto that space. This nice feature opens up the hallways. The hallways are not straight from aft to stern as some cabins are set back (to accommodate lifeboats).

The Giardino Isolabella lounge is hard to find as it is under the theater. It’s a beautiful night spot. We attended the Captian’s cocktail party here. The nautical theme features scallops and shells. The Via Condotti shops are attractive and offer much. They includes some top Italian brand products such as Fendi. The Apollo Pool was the pool of choice. No children are allowed. The Cadmo pool was noisy, especially when the sundome was in the closed position. Beautiful statues look over each of the pools and hot tubs. The pools are small but there are large wading areas. Outdoor sunning areas were ample although the highest locations as well as the seats on the port and starboard sidewalls did not have good wind protection. Many of the sunning areas are very exposed. The Perla del Lago Buffet is very long and offers much variety. For lunch, their pasta station was simply grand. It was a delight to find Italian specialties such as zampone and pesto sauce. I highly recommend the Perla del Lago Buffet for lunch. Here different cuisines are featured in addition to the standard Italian (ie. Greek food). A pizzeria seems to continuously make pizza. In addition salad and small desserts were always available. Soft ice cream is a delicious treat at any time in the buffet.

The Ristorante Degli Argentieri, on two levels, is almost palatial. Silver art work adorns the side walls. The Grand staircase faces the main entrance way. On themed nights the waiters and their assistants dance. Some of the waiters were especially entertaining with their coordinated dance moves. On Italian night, some of the music was not in Italian which was odd but the patrons loved the dancing. The food was top notch and reminiscent of many meals I have had in Italy. There is much variety. A pasta dish is offered each night in addition to entrées and antipasti. Costa really lives up to its motto “Cruising Italian Style” in its restaurant. Each waiter is afforded the assistance of an assistant waiter, who also plays an integral role in the delivery of meals. Both our waiter and his assistant were efficient and were accommodating when we decided that we wanted to order several items in each category to sample the splendid dishes. The captain was often seen eating dinner in the restaurant along with the other high ranking officers. This captain was very visible, as he strolled along in the public areas nightly.

We did not book any excursions so I will not comment too much about each stop. Our most notable port of call was Catalina Island, where were moored and were taken by an efficient tender to the beach. Costa colored beach chairs and umbrellas were set up for relaxation when enjoying the pristine water. Costa did a superb job in providing a barbeque on the beach for all passengers. Our day at Catalina Island ended with a quick hop to our evening port of call, La Romana, Dominican Republic. We did not book the popular amphitheater show here and were at a loss of things to do. That was OK because our day was beautiful. An inexpensive taxi ride to the Colombus shopping “mall” led to one store in the middle of nowhere selling jewelry and souvenirs. It seemed there was not much to do at La Romana.

Nassau, Bahamas was beautiful. Costa’s itinerary usually includes Nassau at the end of the week which is when most cruise ships go to Nassau. They day we were there, there were 5 other cruise ships docked!

St. Thomas was another island we docked at. It was a slower day there with only 2 other ships. We were 1 of 2 ships at San Juan.

Like its CDC Rating, I rate the Costa Mediterranea a 100%. The entire journey was an experience in itself worthy of this long review.

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Thanks for the great review. I can't wait to sail on 4/9!! I know it will be wonderful!:) :)

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Thanks for the comphrehensive review. Is there a particular suite which you would recommend? TIA

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Yes, on deck 4, the suites in the rear are the largest suites on the boat. I am talking about the lowest suite category. Not the Grand Suite, but the suite. Theres one suite on either side. Go for it. If you dont like vibrations, dont go for it. But the interior space is ENORMOUS! The balcony is standard size though. This is due to the architecture of the ship.

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Yes, on deck 4, the suites in the rear are the largest suites on the boat. I am talking about the lowest suite category. Not the Grand Suite, but the suite. Theres one suite on either side. Go for it. If you dont like vibrations, dont go for it. But the interior space is ENORMOUS! The balcony is standard size though. This is due to the architecture of the ship.
Wow! <<shivers>> I was on the Costa website looking at prices when I received the email that you had replied.

 

Do you mind my asking if you booked directly through costacruise.com?

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No, our TA booked it.

 

That Costa Website gave us so many problems! They have the best webcams but is really hard to book things with them

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I read your review and it was like reliving our cruise on The Med in Feb 2003. In my review I like yourself was taken aback when I first entered the ship. The artwork the granit the marble the Murano glass everywhere made me feel I was in Italy again. The ship was clean and the theatre with its Egyptian theme was spectacular. The entertainment team was top notch. However like yourself the cruise director was not my cup of tea. In my review I stated it looked like he was on valium, Max is a fellow Montrealer and a more refined CD who plays a mean bass.. Anyone that has taken a trip to Italy and enjoyed Florence, Naples ,Venice and Rome will feel as they were transported back to Magical Italy. One point I would like to restate is that the most fun was had at the Isolabela Lounge.....absolutley beautiful! The down side to the Med was that of the 4 Costa ships I have been on the food was not up to par against The Atlantica where we had the best food on the open seas or the Victoria where the food was also mouth watering and this year the Magica was also up there....must of been an off week for the Chef but like my wife always says if I do not have to cook it and I get served as well its GOOD!

Viva Costa and do not forget.....

TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!

Like Max would say.....CIAO!

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