Costa Cruises ships you either love them or you don’t love them. Costa has been through some very ‘rough seas’ over the past few years, the Costa Concordia was well and truly in the headlines and this has given Costa a backward motion when it comes to being in the cruise race.
We have now been on three Costa Cruises, so yes, we must enjoy them, but – there is always a but! Our first trip was on the Costa Atlantica to the Eastern Mediterranean, our main reason for choosing Costa was the price, the places of interest and how the journey fitted in with our busy schedule.
We had no great expectations and were fully aware that our friends were amazed that we were ‘risking’ going on ‘one of those ships’ Wasn’t that the cruise line that had the ‘problem’? Well, yes, but we wanted a short break to interesting places and that is what we got.
The safety aspect is paramount and as soon as you get on board the safety drill is announced, after you have got your life jacket, you are guided to the ‘muster stations’ the life boats area to be placed in order of height, male, female and children and then everyone knows that this is where they are expected to be when the emergency sounds; this is dealt with in a strict, professional way and is better than most ships I have been on.
The cabins are good and the beds comfortable, no frills though, no extra soap or shoe polish nothing that the top line cruise ships give as freebies, but saying that if you forget anything the staff will go out of their way to make you as comfortable as possible. The staff is good as are most staff on cruise ships, mainly from the Philippines and all with a smile on their faces. Tipping is difficult for some people who like to tip the staff they consider have gone the ‘extra mile’. We don’t, we use the gratuities procedure that starts with your on board account. I do feel that I can’t not tip the person that washes my towels or the kitchen dish washer and I like to think that all staff get some of the share of tips I leave.
Costa cruises go to some very interesting places – after our first trip to Eastern Mediterranean, we went to Rio in Brazil and sailed back with the Costa Fortuna to Savona, a repositioning cruise. This was a wonderful trip – 22 days with a short stopover in Rio, an exciting, interesting city (read my article about Rio de Janeiro) plus lots of interesting cities along the way. 5 days at sea was also a pleasure with lots of good entertainment and things to do all day long if you wished. Our last cruise was on Costa Fascino to the Eastern Mediterranean again, but this time we went from Venice to Istanbul another exciting and interesting trip (read my article about Venice).
Costa is cheap and cheerful and the main group of passengers are Italians who do have a few idiosyncrasies to say the least, one of eating well and pushing you out of the way … in the buffet area, good elbows are required! The restaurant breakfast or the buffet breakfast is good with lots of variety. Lunch is also very good with lots of pizza but also with a good choice, not high standard, not cordon bleu but good. The evening meal has fixed timings – there is no free time dining on the Costa ship, either 6.30 to 6.45pm or 9.15 to 9.30pm – the latter is too late for me so we opted for the early evening sitting, early but no one got too upset if we turned up a little late. Depending on how long you are on the cruise, a drinks deal is a very good idea, for a long cruise it works out costing less over all. One thing that does draw people to Costa is there is no single supplement, which is a bonus when travelling alone.
I can only give you our opinion, but try it for yourself before they put the prices up to Costa fortune!!!