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JoshGrrrr

~ Costa Mediterranea 3/26/2006 Review ~

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DISCLAIMER: I do not claim to be a writer by any means. Actually, I am a ****ty writer.

 

It is hard for me to explain why exactly I liked this cruise so much. There wasn’t any one big thing that did it for me. There were lots and lots of small details that made me like this cruise more than any other cruise I’ve been on. I will just run through some of them really quick. The bathrooms actually had cloth hand towels rolled up in a big clear bin for you to dry your hands on. You just threw them in the matching container when finished with them. There were more than enough deck chairs. You could lay out any time you want with several deck chairs between you and the person next to you. The musical acts on this ship were amazing. A few of them were much too good to be performing on a cruise ship. The Blue Note Duo was amazing. I actually purchased their CD. A lot of the songs were performed in Italian, but they were beautiful none the less. Costa’s prices are amazing. I chose it because of the amazing deals. A 7 day cruise to St. Martin, Tortola, and Nassau for $479 for a veranda. I think that is as good as it gets.

THE STAFF

For one, Costa seems to do things a little differently. Costa actually enforces the “adults only” rules. The adults only pool and hot tub was always kid free. The adults only karaoke was kept adults only. I love that. It seems to me that Carnival and RCI will let anyone get away with anything to keep from potentially pissing off some kids parent. Costa didn’t seem this way. They were very polite about it, but they definitely enforced it. Also, Costa doesn’t seem obsessed with being politically correct like the other lines I’ve been on have. At the talent shows, you are actually allowed to boo the people who aren’t good and give them a thumb’s down to send them to the lions or a thumbs up and a cheer if you approve. It was roman knight and everyone was wearing togas so it was fitting.. Yes it is mean, but it is fun. The whole cruise seemed a little more adult. There were many pieces of art on the ship that contained male and female nudity, and there were definitely more “adult” comments and jokes made by the cruise staff. Don’t worry, they were obscure enough so that they would go right over most kids heads. I don't have kids, but it seemed like the kids were kept busy and had fun. There were 400 kids on this boat and I rarely saw any of them. The animators (that’s what Costa calls them) that hosted the events were great. They seemed younger than on other lines. They seemed much more enthusiastic than the people on other cruises I’ve been on and they really seemed to be enjoying themselves. They would hang out after the events were over and dance with passengers. They would just hang out like a normal passenger. It was great. All of the staff on the boat seemed more lively, including the waiters, servers, and bartenders.. On other cruises I’ve been on the staff seem almost like robots. They just do their job, say the same polite comments they always say, and kiss your butt for tips. On this line they seemed much more “real” to me. They joked around with you. They joked around with on another. The servers would sing along during the shows while they walked around and did their jobs. They did their job very well while doing so. They didn’t grovel for tips, they just did their jobs and acted like real people. I really liked that. It made the whole cruise seem more warm and friendly. A few of them even offered me their e-mail address.

THE SHIP

This was by far the cleanest, best maintained ship I’ve been on. It looks like it was built a week ago. It was spotless. The décor was a little odd, but I liked it. Although, I can see how others may not. The layout of the ship was really nice. It was easy to find everything you were looking for. The ship had many small nooks and crannies to explore. Even on the 7th day I was still finding new hallways and sitting areas that I had not seen before. I loved this ship. Smoke was not a problem. There were only a few places on the ship where you were allowed to smoke. I am very sensitive to cigarette smoke and it never bothered me.

THE FOOD

The food was superb. I honestly don’t’ think RCI or Carnival even come close in this category. I’m not bashing them, but they are the only lines I’ve been on the compare. On Carnival and RCI the food was gourmet style food, it just tasted like a TV dinner version. The meats were tough, and everything tasted like it had been re-heated. On Costa everything tasted freshly cooked. The menu had plenty of normal food for picky people as well as some very odd dishes that I haven’t seen on other lines. One dish actually had truffles in it. You get an extra course in the dining room. You get the typical appetizer, soup, salad, entrée, and desert as well as a pasta before the entrée. The pasta was always perfectly cooked. The buffet was great. Most of the foods served in the dining room could be found in the buffet. Usually there were only a few of each course missing. The pizza bar was also much better, which I expected on an Italian cruise line. If you are a foodie, you should definitely try this line. They had a hamburger and hot dog grill that was open all day, they had a Tex-mex and sandwich corner, and they had a fresh pasta station where you chose your own pasta and sauce. Unfortunately I gained back 5 of the 32 lbs I had lost since January.

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

This ship moved A LOT. This may have been due to the extremely rough water but I don’t know that for sure. It was the roughest I’ve seen. Winds on the top deck got up to 80kph. The waves were large even out in open water. The bars were pretty expensive. Mixed drinks were $6+, except for the daily special which was $5 and $5.50 for an XL. The drinks also seemed much weaker than on other ships. Maybe the other ships I’ve been on made them strong, but there was definitely a difference. The draft beer was reasonable though. A .5 liter draft Heineken was $4.25. That was my drink of choice. The assistant cruise director was extremely annoying. He constantly insulted our intelligence by saying the cliché Italian phrases like “momma mia pizzeria”. He said that every 30 seconds it seemed. He had a horribly nasally voice and just irked the hell out of me. That may have been me though. Someone else may like him.

I am very glad that I didn’t let the negative reviews on this ship dissuade me from giving it a try. It turned out to be my best cruise experience yet. I really don’t plan on going on another Carnival or RCI cruise again. I may try lines that I haven’t been on yet, but going on those two lines would be paying more for an inferior cruise in my opinion. I think everyone should at least give Costa a try. I think it is sad that many people will miss out on this great cruise line due to a few negative reviews. There is a very good chance that Costa could end up being your favorite line.

 

There was more that I wanted to say, but I'm just too lazy. If you have any questions at all feel free to ask.

 

BTW...... my table mates just so happened to be members of this very forum. We didn't realize it until the end of the cruise though. They were great guys. They are probably recovering from the 22 hour drive home.

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JoshGrrr, Thanks for the review. Glad to hear you had a great cruise. I was on the 3/5-3/12 Magica and my experience was very similiar to yours. I wasn't aware of the itinerary of your cruise, but those ports sounded good. Maybe I'll have to consider that cruise next year. I've never been to St. Martin (sic) or Tortola. How did you like those 2 ports? I knew about the alternating Eastern/Western Carribbean cruises and was really satisfied with our Eastern cruise. Looks like my 2nd cruise will be with Costa, too.

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St. Martin was nice. I did't do an excursion there. I just shopped. The prices there were great. Liquor was almost 1/3 less than it was in the ships shops. Electronics can be purchased really cheap there as well. The island is beautiful. I will post some pics later.

 

I really liked Tortola. It is now officially my favorite caribbean island. It is absolutely gorgeous. It is extremely hilly with beautiful houses in the sides of the hills. Most of the island is free of homes, just beautiful green hills. We visited The Baths, which were also beautiful. I will post pics of that as well.

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I forgot another dislike.

 

On other lines you get a daily statement regarding your Sail and Sign card. You don't on Costa. You have to go ask and even then they won't print you out anything. So, unless you are willing to stand there at the purser's desk and have them read it to you item by item, you have to wait until the end of the cruise to see your account activity.

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Thanks for the great info! We just booked the Christmas cruise on the Mediterranea and are so excited! I have heard good and bad about the Costa line too. The reasonable rates were the deciding factor for us - RCI rates are almost double for the Holiday sailing.

 

Can you look at your Sail & Sign statement on the TV?

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Nope. I wish they would do that. The purser's desk will tell you your balance and if you press them they will go through your purchases.

 

I also need to mention the mattresses. They are every bit as bad as everyone says they are. I expected this due to the reviews on this forum so I immediately asked for a matress topper. When I returned from dinner the the first night the bed had a second matress on top of the original. It was very comfortable then. Also, people have complained about the multiple languages spoken on the boat. It wasn't bad at all. Even with the additional languages being spoken the muster drill still seemed shorter than some of the cruises we've been on. Remember, they are an italian cruise line. English IS one of those annoying languages.

 

I think you will love your cruise. I talked to quite a few people on the ship who had cruised on other lines and they were very surprised at how great Costa was. I don't know if Costa has stepped their game up since some of the bad reviews were written, but I think they are definately on their way up. Unfortunately, this may cause their rates to go up :eek:

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Nice to read your review.

In a few weeks I am leaving ,crossing the Atlantic.

I have a question:

Do you know is the photoshop putting your dig.pics on cd ?

I have asked this more than once, cc members told me to go to Walmart.

But I like it to do on board.

The last ships I was on it was no problem.(HAL)

Thanks,for letting me know.

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My wife and I agree with your review - it is a wonderful ship and cruise line. How did you get your room for $479 ?

BTW the cost to put digital pictures on CD was $20 on the ship.

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Yes, they offered that service.

 

Thanks JoshGrrrrr ,

Glad to hear,so I have enough mb to start with and need no more.

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My wife and I agree with your review - it is a wonderful ship and cruise line. How did you get your room for $479 ?

BTW the cost to put digital pictures on CD was $20 on the ship.

 

 

That is awfull expensive ,I used to pay 12/13 dollar aboard last year.

Thanks for the ---warning--

Much obliged .

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My wife and I agree with your review - it is a wonderful ship and cruise line. How did you get your room for $479 ?

BTW the cost to put digital pictures on CD was $20 on the ship.

 

Booking at the last minute.

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Josh--We were getting off the Mediterranea as you were getting on...

 

I agree with your review--it is now one of my FAV cruise lines as well.

 

I thinjk the big difference was that they were not money-hungry. On other cruise lines, it seems like they are hitting you at all angles with wine packages, cigar bars, special drinks., etc...They did the same on Costa, but it was soooooo low key. I felt like they were treating me as a guests--as opposed to someone who might be coerced into spending more $$$ with them.

 

I'm already looking to see if we can book the Magica for next year....

 

CeleBrat

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Josh--We were getting off the Mediterranea as you were getting on...

 

I agree with your review--it is now one of my FAV cruise lines as well.

 

I thinjk the big difference was that they were not money-hungry. On other cruise lines, it seems like they are hitting you at all angles with wine packages, cigar bars, special drinks., etc...They did the same on Costa, but it was soooooo low key. I felt like they were treating me as a guests--as opposed to someone who might be coerced into spending more $$$ with them.

 

I'm already looking to see if we can book the Magica for next year....

 

CeleBrat

 

I agree with the money hungry comment. We were bluntly told by the cruise director not to bother tipping. They said the $60 per person was plenty. Carnival suggested tipping on top of the amount they automatically charge to your account.

 

Did the assistant cruise director get on your nerves as well?

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First off…it was too bad that we didn’t figure out who we all were earlier on in the cruise. Who would have thought that we would be sitting at the same table.

Our thoughts on this cruise:

Staff:

The staff was excellent. Our waitress and assistant waiter was excellent. Can’t say enough about them. Our cabin steward was very good as well, never had a complaint about them. We ended up tipping them extra because we thought they deserved it.

I have to agree with Josh. The assistant cruise director was very, very, very annoying with his “mama mia pizzeria”. We went to one session of bingo and that was enough of him! Plus we didn’t go back to bingo since their payouts were much smaller than Princess and were still paying the same amount to play. Not happy with that.

The singers and dancers need to find another choreographer. Their moves were very limited and not always in sync with the others. Nothing like the ones that we saw on the Jewel of the Seas.

Food:

The food was great, or should I say excellent. It was always served hot. Was able to try a few new things on this cruise and they were all good.

The breakfast buffet had much to be desired. It was the same thing every day and it was limited as far as fresh fruit goes. Princess had more fruit but not as much as RCCL.

We did the dinner buffet one evening and had nothing to complain about with that.

Oh, one other thing, if you are celebrating an occasion and you get a cake, don’t be surprised if it isn’t that good. We were celebrating a birthday and when the cake was cut and served, during dinner, I think that there was only 3 of us that had part of it.

The Ship:

It was nice overall. It was very ornate to say the least. We had a balcony cabin near the rear of the ship and it was noisy as far as hearing the engines all the time and sometime you could feel them vibrate.

As far as the kids on the ship, we must have been on another ship, cause we saw them all over the place and even in the adult only areas and they were loud. I would have to guess that since we saw them running all over the ship that there wasn’t enough to keep them busy with activities. I was told that Costa has a lot for kids to do. I would have to disagree with that. We were on the Star Princess over the Thanksgiving holiday week last year and there were the same amount of kids on there and we hardly ever saw them at all for the whole week. We were looking at Costa to bring my two boys on and I’m glad that it didn’t work out, they would have been bored. In fact we were bored for the days at sea. There wasn’t much to do. You could only sit out in the sun for so long without turning redder than how we ended up. Would have to agree that there are plenty of deck chairs for the amount of passengers. Never had a problem with that at all. There was an area that there were women topless sunbathing but sometimes they had to stop because there were kids around.

You got a great deal for this cruise! We paid much more than that and we booked about 2 months before hand. The reason we picked this cruise is that we have never been to Tortola. It was a very pretty island. We took a tour of the island and they have only gotten as modern as they are in the past 40 years. We had been to St. Maarten and Nassau before. In fact when we docked in Nassau, the Jewel of the Seas docked near us and we both thought the same thing, can we get on that ship instead? As you can tell, we wouldn’t pick Costa again.

Freedom of the Seas 12/06 :confused:

Costa Mediterranea 3/06 :(

Star Princess 11/05 :)

Jewel of the Seas 12/04 :)

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Sorry you didn't have as much fun as we did. I guess you will either love them or hate them. I loved it. I was never bored. I actually had a hard time finding time to do all that I wanted to do. I guess it really just depends on who you are and what you like. Costa is definately different than other cruise lines. To some (me and my wife) those differences were great.

 

BTW...why the hell didn't you point these topless ladies out to me? I could have "accidentally" stumbled up on them ;) . Just kidding, my wife would have kicked my ass.

 

It really was a pleasure meeting you guys. It really was odd that we ended up at the same table. It was even odder that you knew of the town I lived in. It really is a small world. Maybe we will see you on another ship in the future.

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Nope--the Asst Cruise Director didn't bother me really as much as the Regular Cruise Director, who just seemed creepy.

 

We played BINGO three times (yipee--I won $100!!), and would laugh at the Momma-Mia Pizzeria comment. Probably because my daughter is only 3 and would just giggle every time she heard it.

 

She still walks around the house now--two weeks later--saying it!

 

CeleBrat

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Yes Josh, I guess you are right, you either love them or hate them. We thought that RCCL is the best.

 

LOL, I thought you knew about the topless areas of the ship. If you go up to the most top decks, that is where you would find them. There were two areas that they were using. Well, now you know and you will know to look there the next time you are on there.

 

Likewise, it was very nice meeting you and your wife and you never know, we might see each other on another cruise. :)

 

Freedom of the Seas 12/06 :confused:

Costa Mediterranea 3/06 :(

Star Princess 11/05 :)

Jewel of the Seas 12/04 :)

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Looks like we're going to be going on this cruise christmas week as well -- looking forward to reading more reviews on the ship :)

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