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Javacruiser

Just back from Mediterranea 1-7-07 Cruise

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I just got back from my cruise and want to share some information for anyone who is going to cruise Costa or is considering it. There were some good points and some "not so good" points and I will be as objective as possible. I also welcome any questions and will be happy to answer them.

 

EMBARKATION- What a mess! It was not all the fault of Costa because the ship sailed into Miami in the morning & was then brought up to Ft Lauderdale. It arrived late and the people who were at the dock sent us back & forth not knowing what we should do to get our luggage tagged (They had no tags & had to wait for some to arrive??). Signs said no tipping but baggage people encouraged us to tip anyway....I didn't! No communication inside where everyone sat for 2 hours waiting for the go ahead. Just not handled well at all.

 

THE SHIP - It is a beautiful ship and though some say it is overkill in the gaudy decorating, I couldn't disagree more. I love the deco style and mix of contemporary and traditional...... The only thing I didn't care for was the overuse of mirrors by the main elevators. I felt the ship was very easy to navigate and laid out nicely.

 

THE STATEROOM - We had a category 6, partially obstructed view balcony cabin. The cabin was very nice, well lit and we never felt claustrophobic. The balcony was a good deal (the same price as an upper level inside or obstructed view outside). We could have had a regular unobstructed balcony for about $150 more per person.... I'm glad we chose to stay with the cat 6. The view out to the ocean was fine, The view "down" was a lifeboat.

 

THE FOOD - We ate in the main dining room the first night and felt the food and service were "good". The problem is, on a cruise ship with traditional dining I expect the food & service to be outstanding. We ate in the buffet the second night and found they were serving the same entrees and many of the same side dishes and desserts. The food quality was just as good as the dining room in our opinion and we spent the rest of the cruise eating there. Some nights we would have 3 or even 4 entree items though most nights we stuck with our 2 favorites. I have read many negative comments about the pasta items on these boards..... We felt the pasta was outstanding. It was actually better on the buffet because they heated it up in front of you & served it hot. We especially liked our dessert girl "Lilybeth" at the buffet. She was wonderful and always smiling.

 

THE ENTERTAINMENT- We went to every main show on board and at least checked out most of the entertainment in the various lounges. Some of the shows were not what we were interested in but all of them were very well done and the overall quality of the shows was quite good. The entertainment staff was OUTSTANDING. We thoroughly enjoyed their energy and the way they got everyone involved. The main theatre has some problems with sight lines but is overall beautiful and acoustics were good. Don't miss the specialty shows...... 50's night, 70's night, Mr Pizza Night and especially the Toga night show. Interact with the Entertainment crew and get involved.... You won't regret it.

 

FELLOW PASSENGERS- This is the one area that will probably keep me from going on another Costa cruise. I thought it would be interesting to go on a cruise with a lot of other cultures but after doing so, I just don't know. Our cruise was about 1/2 American (US & Canada) & 1/2 European. It was difficult to get to know people because of the language barrier and I don't personally enjoy the openness (Large ladies in bikinis, Large men in speedos, An occasional lady topless at the pool) that is apparently customary in Europe. Just my opinion..... maybe fine for many but I guess I prefer the american way......... There were not a lot of kids but those that were on the ship were pretty much left to do what they wanted. They were in the adult only pool, the adult only hot tubs and they were in the casino (adult only)...... They were even playing the slots unsupervised. I didn't complain so I don't know if it would have been addressed so I can't make too big a deal of it.

 

SUMMARY- Overall it was a nice cruise but the above mentioned items will probably cause me to look elsewhere next year. If the negatives I have pointed out are not a concern to you, you will probably love Costa. I would be happy to answer any specific questions anyone has and encourage others who have cruised this ship to leave feedback.

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Here are a few questions.....

 

24 hour ice cream? is it soft serve ( like Carnival's)? or is there a place to get sundaes?

 

Was there any sushi?

 

Sport's court, what type of sports were played?

 

 

 

Did you have a wine package? X1?

 

Did you go to Medusa's? if so how was it?

 

Room Service, how was it?

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Ice Cream - Hit & Miss on when machines were operating. They seemed to take them apart (for cleaning??) several times daily. I ate my share when they were in operation though......soft serve vanilla, chocolate & swirl. I never actually figured out the time schedule for when they took them apart but they seemed to take them all aprt at the same time. I think there were 4 ice cream stations.

 

No sushi & no lobster night.

 

There is a single basketball court & tennis court.... never used

 

Didn't get a wine package or x1...... We stuck with drink of the day & Coronas

 

Didn't go to Medusa's..... took elevator up to look & it looked nice.

 

Room service.... planned to use & never did. Limited menu for breakfast didn't appeal enough to use & we were never in the room after that.

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We did the wine package over Christmas week, and felt it was a good value. Both my husband and father are wine drinkers. We did end up taking 2 bottles of wine home with us, though.

 

We did room service. The food was okay, but there is not a lot of variety. Just some basic sandwiches. Food was brought promptly both times we ordered.

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Javacruiser: I'm surprised you found the food to be traditional in the dinning room. I was on the Med for New Years and thought there was a wide variety of dishes offered. We tried many different things that we normally wouldnt, becuase if we didnt like something, they would change it for us.

 

The shrimp and calamari were both quite good. We actually did have lobster served on the last formal night and it was very good.

 

I will agree with you that the buffets were quite good. We had lunch there everyday, and thought the Mexican day was very yummy.

 

The basketball court was used, mostly by kids and yes I'm not sure if the tennis courts were used.

 

The entertainment (crew staff) were so much fun! Did you partake in any of the dance lessons? I too thought the Toga night was fun and encourage others to participate.

 

Passengers: the New Years ship had a majority of Italians and Spanish people. I found that Italians really like to have a good time, always smiling, friendly and dancing quite late into the night. One of the downsides of this was that we didnt know (or understand) a lot of the songs sang at the karaokee night! I do agree that there were times when I wish there were age restirctions, especially in the Disco.

 

What other cruise lines have you been on? I'd like to do another cruise, maybe next year and would like to get an idea of comparison.

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As far as the food, I simply felt that the dining room food was not to a standard that I expect on a "traditional dining" cruise ship. The food was very good as was the service, however I felt it was not exceptional as I expect with the ships that still offer traditional dining. Ships that have expanded options for "freestyle" or "Anytime" dining and offer many different dining options are held to a lower standard in my opinion because they are offering multiple alternatives. Costa however offers basically 2 options..... Traditional dining room or buffet. It was actually more a case of the buffet being such a nice option...... I could get most entrees offered in the dining room as well as the option for Pizza (which was VERY GOOD), and the quality was excellent every night. The added bonus of being able to try everything on one plate....Steak, Swordfish, lamb, Grouper, Prime Rib, Chicken, Veal, Shrimp...... Every night there were at least 4 choices and some nights I tried all 4.

 

I've only been on one other cruise which was on the Celebrity Zenith. The main dining room food was exceptional and the service was like we were the only people there. We would walk out at the end of dinner amazed at how wonderful it was. I walked out of the Costa Dining room thinking that it was "Nice"........ If Celebrity was rated a 9 I would have given Costa a 7. Very good but not good enough to keep me there when the buffet was so good. By the way, the buffet was very quiet the first night we ate there but by the end of the cruise, we had a hard time finding a good table..... Others obviously agreed with us.

 

Our cruise consisted of about 40% from USA, 40% from Germany and the rest from primarily Italy and Canada with the remainder from other European countries.

 

My wife volunteered me to be one of the John Travolta's (actually the costume was more Elvis) in the 50's Grease contest. That was a lot of fun and as I stated before, The Animation crew was outstanding!! They kept every party going and were very interactive with the passengers.

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before I ask them, thanks for all the information, it is nice to be able to have your questions answered...

 

When did you get your luggage tags?

 

What time did you get off the ship on debarkation?

 

Do you get a cruise package in the mail with your tickets? if so when did you get them? or when does your TA get them?

 

that's all for now, I sure there will be more

 

Jan

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Tags were one of the problems. At the cruise pier a lot of people had their tags ahead of time and checked their luggage & were able to go inside. Some of us had to wait for tags which didn't arrive until after 1pm. I booked through an online broker & didn't get tags ahead. I assume it's different booking through Costa or possiby other brokers.

 

Debarkation was fine for me. I was scheduled for the last group at 9:45am but they allowed the first 500 US citizens who wanted to get off early if they took their own luggage out. If you have an early flight and you are a US citizen, pack light & carry out your own. We were off the ship by 7:45am.

 

We got cruise docs by email about 45 days ahead as I recall.

 

One more point to make..... There is no ATM on board and you can't get cash from your costa card during the last full day on board or the day of debarkation. We weren't informed of this until the night before after we were already in bed reading the next days news. I had $5 in my wallet and decided not to go down for cash at that time si I went the last 36 hours with $5 in cash. You could still use the Costa card for purchases during the last full day but not for cash.

 

One last point.... If you like to take a late swim.... good luck. They close the pools early.

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When was the life boat drill? After KeyWest?

 

What time did you leave Key West?

 

Jan

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The drill was after Key West.... I believe we left at 5:00 & the drill was 5:30.

 

why don't they have the drill before they leavr Ft Lauderdale???

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I was on it, heres my takes.

 

Embarkation............. was pretty bad, but not the fault of Costa....worst part was the lack of communication. We booked ours through online vacation center and received the cruise book with our luggage tags, so were okay there. We met some people who gave the porters their bags, the porters said they would tag them, and they did not get their luggage until Friday night!!! It went on the wrong ship.............So, dont ever give up your bags without a luggage tag!!

 

Food....thought it was fine, I dont like eating in main dining room anyways, buffets were good, room service food was good....but no lobster??? I dont what the deal was with that.

 

Atmosphere......good, yes there were some kids in the adult pools, but all you had to was say something, and they would run them out of there...immediately

.............Yes, it was quite sickening to see some grossly overweight people in next to nothing, and I painstakingly recall the BIG women in a thong AAARRRGGHHH

 

Drink were good, definitely go with the XL on the drink of the day, its a good deal.

 

Shows, only did the circus performers and they were GREAT.....we were very impressed.

 

Overall....a B

 

Will we cruise with Costa again...as long as the price is right..

 

We've cruised with Costa a few times, Carnival, Royal, and Norwegian...they all have their highs and lows (though we REALLY like the freestyle business on Norwegian!!!), so as long as the price is right for a balcony room, we're pretty much equal opportunity.

 

 

Almost forgot...the pasta was GREAT....especially at the stations!!!!!

 

Debarkation.....we waited until about 11:00 to get off as we were just going to S Beach to stay overnight.....but getting a cab was ridiculous....be sure to get a porter for your bags, god only knows how long we would have been waiting had he not gotten us a cab!!!

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We are leaving next week for a Western Caribbean trip n the Mediterranea. My husband is not one to get dressed up and we will probably be eating many meals in the buffet. How did everyone dress for dinner there?

 

Thanks.

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Dress code was virtually non-existent in the buffet. I typically wore my shorts & sandals with casual shirt (not t shirt). They say no tanks or shorts in the "restaurants" but I believe they don't care at all about the buffet. During breakfast & lunch there were even people in bathing suits & barefeet..... I thought that was on the tacky side but they didn't seem to enforce anything in the buffet at lunch & breakfast.

 

As far as the main dining room, where I ate only one meal, there were also people wearing jeans & even shorts but that was on the first night & they may have enforced the dress code more after that...??? Overall they are pretty loose though.

 

The buffet food is very good for a buffet with wide selections. If you like good pasta, you won't be dissapointed despite what some other posters here have said. They will heat it individually for you at the buffet & sauce it up just how you want. Pizza is available during the normal lunch & dinner hours in the same buffet area & is also very good. If Lilybeth is doing the dessert cart tell her we said Hi! She is wonderful!!!

 

Enjoy your cruise!

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Do you still have to tip the same when not eating in the dining room.

 

We always eat in the dining room, when on vacation I want to br served.

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Do you get to see you bill on the TV in your Cabin on the Mediterranea?

 

In Key West, was it a "cattle call" to get to the conch train, or is it better to wait , have breakfast, then go ashore? All we plan to do is walk around Key West, no excursions. What time did you have to get back on the ship?

 

Was Cozumel still affected by the hurricane? Did the beaches still have a lot of damage? How about Chanakanaab park?

 

I know the menu says, chicken,salmon, and spaghetti every night, but can you have a steak if you want?

 

Thanks, Jan

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You can see your bill in your cabin.....

 

Tips are automatic ($8.50 pp per day)but you can have them adjusted. We didn't adjust ours even though we didn't use the dining room.

 

In Key West we had breakfast on the ship & went down after the crowds were gone. They had a shuttle waiting when we went down.... we got right on & were taken down to the main square near Duvall. We walked around for 4-5 hours & then reboarded. We had to be back on by 4:30 I believe.

 

Cozumel was our last stop & we did no excursions. It looked pretty put back together but can's say for the beaches.

 

There was some kind of beef selection every night (steak, Prime Rib, etc.). I didn't feel the quality of the food was any better than "very good" but the choices were fine and I never had a night where there weren't at least 2 or 3 good options for my main course. If you are going on a cruise with them expecting gourmet delicacies & superb service every night, you will be dissapointed. If you are going expecting good choices, good meals in nice quantity and good service you will probably be very satisfied.

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again thanks for all the quick info...it is nice to be able to get answers from someone in the know....

I have sailed Carnival a lot and I am just looking forward to having a different menu than the same one Carnival has on every ship. I haven't ever had a bad cruise, so I don't expect that this one will be any different...I am just happy that someone asks me what I want for dinner, brings it to me, and takes the dishes away..,( sounds like I am a mom ), and there is no phone calls.

I have been in the exact cabin on the Carnival Pride, and Legend..so I know exactly what to expect, except for the mattress ( which I heard was new).The only port I haven't been to is Key West ( that's why all the questions), and I am looking forward to walking around the city..It isn't that big.

It seems strange that people always want to let everyone know what they didn't like, and not what they liked, so thanks for all the good comments and I know I will have a great cruise...

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Dear Javacruser,

HI, I am "one of the types of people who would stop you going on a Costa cruise again". I am a large lady, and I am European. I would not like to think that my "type" would stop you going cruising with Costa again.

I am having a bit of a problem trying to think who you could safely cruise with next time though. As you can see from my profile in the last year I have done quite a few cruises, mostly with American cruise lines, and also with lots of Americans.

The problem for you,as I see it , is that I have seen just as many large ladies , and gentlemen ,on those American ships also !. I also saw bikinis, speedos, on all shapes and sizes, but to be honest no one topless.

On the other hand I have never see anyone topless on MSC, or the other European cruises I have been on either, even though you think it "the custom in Europe" .

I have seen bad manners, queue jumping, noisy , unruly children , and people smoking where they should not , and generaly behaving as they should not.

What I do not remember though are any of these things being worse on one side of the Atlantic than the other, nor on one cruise line, nor in any particular price of cruise. ! :)

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I expected I may get a comment from someone who would take offense with my comments. I did not intend to offend anyone and have to admit that my opinions on the "european way" were formed from reading other boards such as this. My opinion of the general European culture is that of a more "open" society, which I don't consider wrong or bad.... just different from what I am used to. My wife and I are both "overweight" and I would not consider wearing a speedo in my condition as she would not consider wearing a bikini. This is, I am sure, our thinking based on the "model mentality" here in America. Again, I am not saying this is "right".... In fact I think it goes a little too far trying to make Americans feel inferior because they are not "skinny" or at least in good shape. TV ads drive this home just as they do with things such as baldness (I am bald & Proud).

 

Anyway, As I pointed out in my first post, I originally looked at it as an interesting thing to cruise on a ship with different cultures but after doing so, I have simply decided I would prefer a "cruise" vacation to be with a group of people where there is a common language (my cruise was 50/50) and similar social ideas of what is acceptable & what is not. It felt like there was a "division" on the ship of "us" and "them" and I did not feel comfortable with that. Before you blame me for that, I will admit part of it was my inability to try to overcome the barriers that seemed to exist. I don't consider there to be a "right" or "wrong".... Just a difference.

 

As for my comment about the bikinis and speedos (and topless), if they are going to show me more than I want to see, I don't need to go there.... which is the choice I made. If a 300 lb. lady wants to wear a skimpy bikini or a 350 lb. guy wants to wear a speedo.... it is their right. I'm not going to complain to anyone because they are doing nothing "wrong". Same goes for the topless ladies we saw. If they are going to go topless in the main pool area and the ship allows it, then I simply will not go there if I am offended.

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Which beverages are free and at which hours or meals? Is it OK with them if we buy juice or other non-alcoholic beverages ashore and bring them aboard?

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We drank Iced Tea, Coffee, Milk with our meals from the self serve machines. I believe they also had juice but I don't recall what it was as I never drank it. They generally covered some of the machines between meals but we didn't have much trouble finding self serve drinks in the buffet/pool areas. Sometimes we just got our Iced tea by lifting the cover. I thought the tea was a little weak but drinkable & they always had plenty of lemon slices.

 

You won't have any problem with bringing juice or other non alcoholic beverages. We also brought wine aboard and didn't try to hide it very well in our carryons. Not a problem with that either. As long as it isn't "liquor" and you don't bring too much you should have no problems. Just be sure to pad the items if they are in suitcases as they may get thrown around.

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Thank you for your information, if I can get tea that would be wonderful, better than juice since I am a diabetic. We also want to buy 2 bottles of rum since we only can bring 2 litres of alcohol in the country.

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Thank you for your information, if I can get tea that would be wonderful, better than juice since I am a diabetic. We also want to buy 2 bottles of rum since we only can bring 2 litres of alcohol in the country.

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