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SKennedy

Age: 41

Occupation:neurologist

Number of Cruises: 35

Cruise Line: Costa

Ship: Costa Europa

Sailing Date: 2009-08-30

Itinerary: Mauritius to Italy

We are very happy we booked this cruise and the ports of call were for the most part wonderful. Unfortunately, some of the Costa Staff acted as if they were on vacation and did so at the expense of the passengers. Entertainment, food and the Children's program were awful. The head of the Chiildren's program, Fulvio, needs to be fired.

The food on the ship was horrible but after I spoke to the Maitre d´, he tried to accommodate us. Most of the other passengers complained as well. Our waiter, Jelmer was always very moody and was not very good while our assistant waitress, Dora, was excellent.

Since we are a party of 4 (2 adults and 2 children) and this was a long cruise, we booked 2 outside cabins. The cabins were fine but storage space was limited. The first night, I discovered that the temperature in my cabin could not be controlled. I called housekeeping and Customer Service at least a dozen times to report this problem. They kept sending the same crew over and over again and each time they promised me that the problem was fixed. After two weeks in the same cabin where we were either freezing or boiling, we got ill and demanded a cabin change. Maria (from reception) who was always rude and, nasty refused to change my cabin saying that there was no other cabin left. I was extremely frustrated and asked Federica, who immediately found me a cabin. Throughout the cruise, Federica was always very pleasant and helpful.

Our first cabin steward, Michael, excelled at his job and did a wonderful job on both cabins. Unfortunately, when we changed cabins, the new cabin steward, Jester, was the worst we had ever encountered on any cruise ship (over 25 cruises). He was extremely dirty and the cabins were filthy. When my daughter spilled milk on one occasion, it took me 10 minutes to convince him to change the sheets. He had made her bed with the milk-soaked sheets and was arguing with me and refusing to change them citing the environmental impact of changing the sheets!!! The whole month was spent trying to convince him to keep the cabin clean. He was extremely lazy and the worst attendant we had ever met. He even pressured me to give him an excellent review at the end of the cruise. We didn't.

Entertainment on board was almost non-existent. It was a 30day cruise and most of the passengers were over 60. The staff around the pool area did a great job during the day with the dance lessons and the games. But by 11 pm the lounges were empty and the only people around was the Costa staff drinking. The English speaking host Simon Huot was always drunk in the lounges. We even saw him emerging drunk and half naked from his girlfriend's cabin in the middle of the afternoon!!! Unfortunately, since his girlfriend's cabin was close to ours, my children also witnessed this episode.

As for the Squok club, there were only 4 children on board. Unfortunately, the staff was not even capable of controlling these 4 young children. As two of the children were 4 and 6 years old, the Squok club staff members (Nastasia, also known as Nasta), did not want to bother with them and asked my nine year old daughter to babysit the younger children instead! Nastasia told my daughter that as she was closer in age to the other children; she was in a better position to control them!!! Nastasia had her babysit the younger kids for weeks in return for extra surprises at the end of the cruise. In the meantime, Nastasia would be sleeping or on deck sunbathing! My daughter eventually got tired of it and reported the matter to me. I spoke to the Squok club director, Fulvio, and reminded him that my daughter was a passenger on board and not there to babysit the other children. Fulvio was himself very inept. On one occasion, a crazy Ukrainian single mother entered the Squok club and started yelling at my daughter. My daughter was again babysitting her 6 year old son when he playfully called her "pineapple head". In return, she called him a "dork" and the mother blew up. Fulvio was present during the incident and he did not do anything to protect my daughter. One of the other parents, who witnessed the incident, was so shocked by Fulvio's behavior that he came looking for me. My daughter had in the meantime left the squok club and was in tears in my cabin. When I went to see Fulvio, he explained that it is his policy to "always side with the adults even when they are wrong so as to calm them down". Well, his responsibility was to protect the children, NOT to calm down a crazy unbalanced adult. I reminded him that parents have no right to enter the squok club or to address other children and that he should have protected my child while she was in his care. My husband and I then went to the Reception Desk to report the matter. From then on, Fulvio started stalking us in an attempt to prevent us from reporting the incident. He followed us from lounge to lounge all afternoon and when we were finally able to meet with Sara, the Head of Customer Service, he tried to run interference by entering her office with us. We were shocked and seeing what was going on, Sara asked Fulvio to leave. This totally shocked us as we were not expecting this type of behavior from a 40 year old adult, director of the children's program!!!

Later that same evening, the same crazy Ukrainian parent walked over to my table in the dining room and started screaming saying the my nine year old daughter is evil. She would not leave us alone until we asked our waiter to get security. Apparently, even though we had asked Fulvio to drop the matter, he told the crazy Ukrainian single mother that we reported the matter and she was now enraged. My daughter was terrified and refused to go back to the Squok club. The next evening (my daughter's birthday); ship security escorted her around the ship. My daughter has cruised on over a dozen ships but this whole experience was very traumatic to her. Fulvio even invited the Ukrainian child to her birthday party without asking us. The child was rude and an absolute brat during her party. He booed her but we ignored him and she had a good time in spite of everything. The captain of the Europa was extremely nice to my daughter.

The craft classes on board were always extremely popular and several passengers were initially turned away after the class reached maximum capacity. I noticed that one of the participants in the class was Fulvio's girlfriend. When we mentioned it to him, he boasted on how he gets his girlfriends to travel free by temporarily declaring her as his "wife". This time, his "wife" (free loader) ate in the restaurants with the passengers and participated in all of the craft classes. While paying passengers were being turned away from the craft classes and supplies were very short, the free-loading girlfriend, travelling as wife, always hoarded the supplies and never missed a single class! Costa should prevent their staffs' girlfriends ("wives") from penalizing paying passengers. This is totally unacceptable.

The ports of call (Kenya, Egypt, Yemen, Oman and Naples) were amazing. We booked private tours in all the ports and had an amazing time. Madagascar was incredibly dirty and was not a place for children to visit. While traveling from Kenya to Egypt, the ship's security was on deck with binoculars watching the ocean day and night in case of pirates. We were told that our only defense in case of a pirate attack was a bunch of water hoses. It was a very interesting experience and everything went well. Yemen and Oman were scary and dangerous. Since we did not feel safe bringing the children to Yemen, we left them on board while my husband and I went ashore. It was a unique chance to visit Yemen and we are glad we were able to see this port. The people we met all over the city were incredibly nice to us but because of safety issues, we would not recommend this port.

Looking back, we are happy we booked this cruise and will never forget the wonderful ports. The captain was always very nice and very approachable. Some of the staff members (Federica, Venicio, Dora, Michael) were equally wonderful and hard working. The ports of calls were interesting but Costa needs to keep a close eye on its employees as a lot of them were out of control on this cruise. Some are abusing their privileges and are doing so at the expense of passengers.

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