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CeleBrat

Most informative Mediterranea review EVER! PART 1--THUMBS UP!

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The PLAYERS: Myself (30ish), DH (30ish), DS (5), DD (3), mother (60ish) father (60ish). We have all been on many cruises, on many different cruise lines. We last cruised Costa (sans DH and children) in the early 90’s.

OVERALL—We LOVED it! And, are looking forward to going back again and/or booking the Magica. We cruised last week 3/19-3/26

PRE-CRUISE: Living in Central Florida, we opted to drive down to Fort Lauderdale the day before and spend the night. We were shocked by the amount of hurricane damage still evident in the area. And, we had a difficult, but humorous time finding our hotel because the street signs (large illuminated signs that hang off of the traffic light poles) were all just empty frames of shattered glass. Kind of makes it hard to know if you’re on the right street! We booked a 2BR suite at a Residence Inn (so we could all stay together) and had a relaxing evening. Dinner was at a local restaurant called DiSalvo’s, which featured great homemade food and huge portions. It was just what we needed to “practice” eating Italian food for the cruise! We also spent 2 hours in the late afternoon at the beach, where we were also able to catch all of the Saturday cruise ships sailing away. What a way to get psyched for the cruise!!

EMBARKATION: We opted to leave our cars (traveling in our SUV and van) at Park-n-Fly. Rate--$54/week. Total time to arrive, park, catch their shuttle, and be delivered to the port—20 minutes. Very efficient! Once at the port, the porters met us and quickly offered to transport our luggage—but not before an earnest plea for a tip. Of COURSE we tipped him—then did a little Homer Simpson Doh! moment when we entered the terminal and saw a very large sign that said “The porters are SALARIED and should not be tipped.” Oh well…We tipped again once we got off the ship because it just seems wrong not to tipa Baggage Guy.

There was no line for check-in (we were there at 12:30pm) and we were processed and on-board very quickly. We entered the ship via the deck 2 atrium and were impressed by the large number of ship personnel at the door. The children’s counselors were also handing out balloons, which was a nice touch. We also LOVED that we were able to go straight to our cabin. There was no wait fro them to finish cleaning from the previous week. Amazing! NOTE—your master stateroom key will be waiting for you in the slot on your stateroom door.

SHIP: We concur with all of the previous posters who state that the ship is beautiful and note that it is spotless—because it was! We enjoyed discovering all of the neat artwork in the stairwells, and thought the mannequins in the atrium were cool! Never once did we see anything that was broken, worn, or in need of replacement. And—we looked very hard. Also amazing that the thousands of feet of chrome in the ship’s décor was fingerprint-free. Our favorite areas on the ship:

1—The midship pools: both are exact duplicates of one another which is fantastic because it doesn’t create a situation where one pool is more popular (and crowded) than another. The shallow splash area and fountains is a nice cool-off area for those that don’t want to get completely wet, and is great for the kids! Also, the hot tubs are situated somewhat “above” the pools, creating another neat splash and crawl area behind it. Our kids spent countless hours crawling through this area. And--how cool are those rubber yellow rocking chairs. They are just begging to be sat in!

2—The Atrium—just breathtaking! And tall! Although, we did happen to think that if someone were to drop something from the top floor, it could cause serious injury to those below.

3--The really strange but neat hallway seating area that flanks the outside of the theatre on deck 2. It runs all the way up to and around the front of the ship. It was a very quiet place, and no one seemed to discover it besides us. NOTE—on debarkation day, it is a GREAT secluded place to sit and wait to be called to exit the ship!

The downside to the ship—the common areas are all named in Italian as a "Via" or "Palazzo", which is very hard to keep straight. We began to make up our own names for areas, like” The lounge where we always play Bingo.”. Also, there are NO MAPS of the ship anywhere!! On each floor near the elevator is an elevation of the ship. But, we could have really used a floor plan so we could find which deck the Via or Palazzo was on.

CABIN—Parents had a balcony cabin, 4226, Aft deck 4. Standard cabin, nice storage, etc…They commented that the wind would howl in the balcony at night. Perhaps because they were AFT? Our cabin was an Interior, 5279 Aft deck 5. We were shocked when we first walked in because it seemed so small. All the beds were open, which left NO FLOOR space, at all, period! However, we soon discovered that if we separated our double bed and pushed one against each wall (ala Brady Bunch style), there was plenty of open floor space. OK—so our cabin looked like a barracks that way, but we spent so much time on-deck that it didn’t matter. Also, our interior cabin was super quiet.

The DOWNSIDE—it’s true, the mattresses are hard—and KILL your back. We requested the foam egg crates from our Cabin Steward, and he looked confused and said he would check, but nothing ever appeared. (Someone posted the same thing about asking and not receiving an egg crate on another thread, which made me laugh!) Also, there TV channel selection is not great, with absolutely nothing for the kids. The closets have those weird rope handles, and nearly break your finger off every time you try to open one of the doors. The bed rail on the upper beds is very short and low, so we were thankful that we brought our DDs bedrail from home. The TODAY papers were never left on our beds at night. Rather, the Room Steward had an odd habit of knocking on our door at 10:30pm to hand them to us in person. It stressed us out because we were already in our PJs and sometimes the kids were already asleep. And, we’re the kind of people that like to peruse the TODAY paper and make plans for the next day as soon as we arrived in our room for the evening.

Our cabin steward was Victor, who seemed OK. We only saw him a few times. Maybe he was afraid to talk to us after the egg crate request?

FOOD—LOVED it! Even my husband, who is a foodie, loved it. Many on this board don’t like it, but everyone needs to understand that they try to make authentic Italian food, which is very-much unlike the Americanized Italian food we are familiar with. We have traveled to Italy several times and found the cruise food to be on par with the local food. We thought the pizza was to die for! It tasted like it could have come from a little corner pizza ship in Naples. Ummmmm….We found that we really enjoyed the variety of food on the buffet, and so ate all of our breakfast and lunch meals there. We fell in love with the buffet during the WELCOME ABOARD lunch, where we discovered pan-fried veal. WOW! Also, we thought that the buffet was laid out very well so that there was never more than a 7-8 person line at a specific buffet. Choices at the buffet included the standard buffet, specialized themed line (Seafood, Italian), fresh pasta station, poolside grill, pizza/salad station, and dessert bars. Also, there was plenty of seating so finding a spot was never a problem.

We had first seating for dinner –5:45pm, table 160, deck 2. Oddly enough, our table was located in a little “side room” located off of the main dining room and included only 15 tables. We thought it was odd to be segregated from the main dining room, but found it to be much quiet and less crowded. The three tables behind us were completely empty. GREAT! Service in the dining seemed rather slow, such that it would usually take us 1 hour 45 minutes to finish our meal. And, perhaps we had a new serving team, but often they were very “late” in fulfilling our requests. We would ask for iced tea, and receive it waaaaay later, sometimes as much as 45 minutes later. Once, they offered parmesan cheese, and then did not show up with until we were done with our pasta. But—we just laughed about it and didn’t let it ruin our meal. There is a disclaimer on the menu (in very small print) about some of the food beign frozen.

The downside—Not a great variety of 24 hour drinks. Other cruise lines offer 24 hour lemonade or soda via their buffets, but Costa only offered tea or water. Fortunately, I was aware of that beforehand, and brought along several boxes of Crystal Light On-the-Go drink mixes. That way we could always have something on-hand for the kids. Also—small little nit-picky thing, but pizza was not available freely at night. After 9pm, you were only able to get pizza by sitting at a table in the buffet and ordering it as if you were in a pizzeria. I usually like to grab a quick slice before retiring at night, and could not do so. Although, that really helped me NOT gain a million pounds. Lastly, the room service menu seemed weak. We did not order from it at all because there was not a lot of variety. And, there was nothing for the kids. We are accustomed to finding a PBJ available for the kids. We als thought that dessert were just OK. I guess we were really expecting some over-the-top chocolately things, but instead only encounted the authentic Italian pastry desserts.

ACTIVITIES—We were constantly laughing about the activities on this ship. Just too funny! They offered the standard “Sexy Legs” contest and BINGO, but then also had other strange games. For example, there is a game called “The Flip-Flop” game. This involved 10+ contestants all trying to see who could kick their flip-flop off of their foot the farthest. It reminded me of a silly game that I would have concocted with my brother when we were young. Hilarious! Passport night was very fun, and involved traveling to 4 different lounges (ports of call) where you had to participate in an activity (learn a Greek dance) to earn a special stamp. Collect all 4 stamps and get yourself a discount on a future cruise. Nice!

KIDS STUFF—The kids club on the ship was called Sqouk Club, and divided into Mini (3-5) and Maxi (6+) ages. We were not initially impressed with the club because it seemed small and dark, and the counselors cold, but the kids LOVED it. There was a nice variety of activities for the kids, some occurring outside of the club in other areas of the ship. Twice during the week, they would offer dinner for the kids. One night they commandeered the entire pool deck and created a Circus Party. Very nice! Throughout the week, the kids earned “Squokker Bucks” (fake $$$) and were allowed to exchange them on the last day for neat take-always. My kids got a backpack, hat, yo-yo, bubbles, and stickers. There’s nothing better for kids than “stuff”! DOWNSIDE—Check in/out for the kids seemed lax. On other ships you must either show an ID, or be the same person who checked in the child, and/or give a secret password. It seems like their process could be improved so that nothing “bad” ever happens.

OTHER COMMENTS—We were not overwhelmed or annoyed by the foreign language announcements. During the lifeboat drill we had to hear the formal announcement in English, Spanish, Italian, French and German, which was long and tiring. Other than that, we enjoyed the few things that were spoken in different languages (#s in BINGO, a few general activity announcements etc). We were impressed by how many languages most of the crew members could speak. I could not do that! We only bought a few photos, as they seemed overpriced. $14.95 for embarkation photo (oversized) and $9.95 for all others. On the last night, I decided to “give-in” a buy a picture that I had been looking at all week. Much to my surprise, since it was 11:45pm and they were starting to shut down their operation, they only charged me $7.95! Also, we learned that you may request a file folder for your family. Throughout the week, you can add additional photos to your file, and then browse/purchase them at your leisure. This greatly helps with the “Oh-my-gosh-where-did-my-picture-go problem.” The photographers were not overly freindlym, and quite frankly always seemed like they were tired. We thought is was neat that they actually took photos during the lief boat drill. That's the first time we've seen that--and is a great way to capitalize on a captive audience!

So—it’s a long review, but hopefully helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. I will post a shorter review tomorrow regarding our ports of call. (Tired of typing…sorry!)

CeleBrat

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celebrat,

very good and useful review. now i know why u asked about BINGO game, it is for your parents. not too many people would do this unless it is paid by parents.

 

very good, celebrat.

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That was a great review. I had a balcony stateroom 6299 and found it to be a quiet cabin. No vibrations, we loved it. I would sail on the Costa Meditteranea in a heartbeat. :) :)

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Great review! I was on the same cruise and agree with pretty much everything you said. We were in room 1196, our room steward, Fernando was very friendly, but he also knocked on our door 3 nights around 9:30ish to drop off the Today paper which was a little annoying because I was trying to get my girls to sleep. I was the one with the twins walking around with the stroller, if you saw us. We all had a great time and would definitely sail with Costa again.

 

Lori

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Yes for 2 weeks our Today always arrived around 10:30 at night--just seemed to keep the room workers up ALL night doing that--now how come they can't get them printed so they can put them on your bed when they turn it down....That's how we had it on other cruises. I agree with someone who mentioned they liked to read them over at night--I would but it would be a bit later..we are used to a hard bed so the small/thin mattress didn't bother us.

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We didn't have a problem with the Today being delivered late. It was always on the bed when we got in. We tipped our cabin steward (Jimmy) as soon as we met him. He took good care of us and found extra mattresses for us.

 

Our room was 6196, no noise, no vibrations.

 

Bingo...well we played on day. That was plenty. It's pretty hokey!!!

 

Overall, the trip was wonderful. The ship is immaculate, the people were friendly, the excursions well organized.

 

Can't wait for the next one!

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