Chris George Dave Henton
Number of Cruises: 6
Cruise Line: Costa
Ship: Costa Classica
Sailing Date: July 21st, 2006
Itinerary: Scandinavia and Russia
Just returned from a Baltic cruise on Costa's Classica out of Kiel, Germany- one of only EIGHT Americans (and 20 people in the English-language group) out of 1,500 passengers, it was a delightful experience! Our fellow passengers were mostly Germans (~ 2/3rds), French, Italians and Spaniards. The English-speaking group included Brits, S. Africans, Irish, and eastern Europeans.
This was our SIXTH cruise and FIFTH line, and this is how Costa compared:
The room (a standard outside) was the largest we've ever had, complete with a HUGE head. Both the cabin stewardess and ALL of the restaurant staff were also the best we've ever had- wonderful, gracious, attentive and skilled service. Very Nice!
Costa has gotten much better about the announcements! The only five-language announcements made throughout the ship were safety ones pertaining to lifeboat drills. Otherwise, our cabin was delightfully quiet.
Shipboard entertainment was OUTSTANDING and varied. There was a superb magician, authentic Andalucian flamenco artists, good bands, and an ecellent dance troupe. During our overnight in St. Petersburg, we had BOTH first-rate Russian folk dancers and musicians and a superb troupe of acrobats.
Shore excursions were good and varied, if costly. (The strong Euro/weak dollar definitely hurt!)
Food was highly inconsistent, and ranged from excellent to poor. I found this inconsistency to be problematic BOTH in the restaurant and at the buffet. As written by other posters, pastas and baked goods were typically excellent. There were also more options than first appeared to be the case. For example, in addition to a late evening snack, there were other meal options some nights and afternoons- i.e. midnight buffet, poolside seafood, afternoon tea, etc.
COFFEE and TEA were unavailable until the opening of the buffet- sometimes as late as 7:00AM- a truly PERPLEXING oversight. (Room Service ends at 5:00am, so basically COFFEE was UNAVAILABLE at the exact time when most early risers would expect it.)
Overall, Costa represented good value for the money, and was a positive experience. I would sail with them again in Europe, but probably not in the Americas.